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Buttons | Anthony Lawrence

They taste worse than coins

and are used in spells

as when my mother

put a curse on my first

social engagement with a girl.

As we stepped out of the cinema

she failed to negotiate

the toggles on her coat

and was taken by the need

to perform public acts

of intimacy, such as

running her hands

through the flickering neon

of her hair as red lines

like scarification

appeared on her face.

I have a button

with a wolf’s head set in pearl

that I stole

from a market in Wiltshire -

some village known for

its car boot sales and cider.

I have tried wearing it

like a brooch or badge

but the wolf's ear rubbed

my left nipple raw.

When made into a ring

it gleamed on my finger

like an advanced hallmark

of melanoma.

These days I wear clothes

cut from one piece of cloth

and the wolf has a paper-clip

holding its mouth together.

Life is rich and uneventful.

Anthony Lawrence has published sixteen books of poems, the most recent being 101 Poems (Pitt Street Poetry, 2018). Headwaters (Pitt Street Poetry, 2016) won the 2017 Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry. He teaches Creative Writing at Griffith University and lives on Moreton Bay.

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