Words, as “the Word” that in the beginning
Gave us the word: “button.”
When we run the mental films,
Mostly we’re tracking body parts
Activated by Buttons.
Who is it looking from inside the machine?
A neural button here, a reflex there:
Pretty soon you have a whole dance of consciousness.
Still there is that unbuttoned attachment
To things that crawl upon the earth
Responding blindly to stimuli.
Words come forth from these assembled parts,
Sad little sounds,
That plead the case for more than
The serpent nature
Condemned to crawl in sin upon its belly.
One may sew a button
Or push it.
By a button,
One may repair,
For words, and buttons identified by words
Present the animal with choices.
Button your shirt.
Button your mouth.
You, who are as cute as a button,
Or missing a button,
Or called to run a button hook,
Or to press a series of buttons
That let you in, or get you out.
It was a button that fastened
Animal skins upon our parents
Who hid in naked shame
For wanting to conceive us.
Now, the Button Book declares
God has it all buttoned up.
I read the stories myself: all about buttons
Popping off, and being sewn back
On tuxedos worn by monkeys.
Until one gentle man, upright and elegant
Arrived with all his buttons in place
Willing to share the name of his tailor.