Buttons and Seeds

For K., Still surprised we were relatively unscathed.

Almost 20 years gone.
You sound younger
And you had younger words.
The hands spin
And it’s hard
To reconcile
The now
With then.

Make each defining
A line in skin,
Folded palm,
Tangled brow,
And silver
Like wires.

Once it was nothing.
There in the midnight dew —
Throwing off our clothes,
Jumping in,
Eyes only for each other,
And oblivious to the boys’
Greedy gaze.

Or barefoot and wandering,
Tripping on gravestones —
Hours spent
Baking bread —
Running off for two weeks
To the desert
Without a word.

Passing a bottle
And smoke round
A fire,
When we couldn’t sleep
For fear of frostbite.

Catching a ride —
California, Colorado —
Remember that car?
We fixed it with sticks,
And barely made it
Across the divide.
Backroads and badlands —
Playing to get lost

Sharing mugs,
Mushroom tea,
Poppies under a glass
With hitchhikers and strangers.
All those country
Morning roads,
Counting stars,
Courting sunrise —

It reads like
Fiction now.
And I cannot pinpoint
The moment
Or the month
That began
The retreat.

But still,
These lines can be
Traced back
Through the vague shadows
Left in its wake.
And someone must keep
These histories.

So I collect words —
Buttons and seeds
In a jar.
Shake it up,
And shake it up.
Spill it out
To see
What chance or fate
Might choose —
The closing,
The opening,
And all the variations
That another 20 years
Might fasten down
Or grow.

About Emily

I may or may not have: A. Dirt B. Ink C. Paint D. Wool under my fingernails.

11 responses to “Buttons and Seeds”

  1. brian miller says :

    buttonsin the jar carries cool symbolism for me…we did all that craziness as kids too an sometimes i wonder how we survived…it feels like another time…

  2. Steve E says :

    Emily, after the life I lived…rather spent in alcoholic coma–I now know what is meant by being ‘born again’. Only born once…but having TWO lives.

    Nicely written. Thank you.

  3. Gay says :

    Whatever the adventures – they helped define us, brought us to our own continental divide where we made choices – and all of them rational and irrational define who we are. You took that truth and crafted it into a roadtrip of beauty and understanding which is a joy for anyone of any age!

  4. henryclemmons says :

    What a journey, and a poetic travel of enjoyment. A thrill to read. Such a fresh, honest voice. I know I’d like to hear you read this. It read great out loud. But I couldn’t quite capture your voice. It has to be kool. Anyway, I really enjoyed my time with your words and expression.

  5. Claudia says :

    oh nice…brought back some memories…and yeah…love..

    So I collect words –
    Buttons and seeds
    In a jar.
    Shake it up,
    And shake it up.
    Spill it out…. good to collect those memories…they’re a part of us..

  6. Emily says :

    Thank you, Claudia. Seems like all the others from “back then” are forgetting. Someone has to hold onto it, right?

  7. Emily says :

    Thank you, Henry. I should think about recording these things sometime. I write mostly outloud while driving. Saying the words until I get to stoplight, changing one here and there, until I get to stoplight and scribble it down. I like outloud….

  8. hedgewitch says :

    Some things need to be recorded and relived or we lose all the resilience and flexibility of our youth—like muscles atrophying, I think. I loved every word of this journey into memory, esp
    Backroads and badlands –
    Playing to get lost…

    Some did, and weren’t playing, but those who are still in the game remember.

  9. Susan says :

    “It reads like
    Fiction now.
    And I cannot pinpoint
    The moment
    Or the month
    That began
    The retreat.”

    I didn’t have half this experience–which still seduces, especially as fondly as you portray it. I find myself sometimes brave enough to reach into the button and seed jar and share. I think my retreat began when I examined how much lack of commitment was connected to a lifestyle of living from moment to moment? Or was it when I turned 30? That was never supposed to happen. Well, I am twice that now and very glad I made a commitment to myself enough to be sure I could retire soon enough to live wildly if I wish.

    Sorry for going on and on and on . . . Good read. Stimulating.

  10. Uneven Stephen says :

    Beautiful. You tell an amazing story through your poetic imagery. I REALLY like this bit:

    “It reads like
    Fiction now.
    And I cannot pinpoint
    The moment
    Or the month
    That began
    The retreat.”

  11. lucychili says :

    shells, seeds and hoping to grow into the next 20+ =)

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