the things we buried

A poem



The shining jewel button

from my grandmother’s sweater;

small, quick hands

thread unravelled and then tucked away —

the shimmer kept safe (momentarily)

in my pocket. Feel the rub

of it against my palm all day.

Imagine its secret sparkle.


Wordless when she asks me

to search for the missing button.

It’s always something, she says,

and I understand this means more than I realize.

Stare, instead, at the bare expanse of wool

thread dangling, button missing,

hands worrying.



You buried the poodle in the backyard,

under the apple tree, you said,

but everyone concerned about the fruit,

proximity to death.

Would the apples be mealy,

browned, rotten right through?

So, instead you found a quiet corner

and buried him late at night,


They slept and you dug,

foregoing shovel for bare hands

wanting the feel of the earth to be your last

memory of him.



A baby.

Tiny coffin, plain wood.

All the memories: the booties,

the pale bonnet, the soft, worn blanket.

What would they have said,

watching the earth swallow the pine box?

There would be no marker,

no long, tearful elegy,

soon, no one left to remember,

only the mound of dirt,