I knew an old man who collected buttons:
puce plastic, mother-of-pearl, teal craftings.

Some were large enough to cover half your palm,
others small enough to pin on the waistcoat
of a bumblebee.

When I asked him why, he said:

“My mother was a seamstress
who was never proud of her profession.

But she mended the seams of my pants
whenever I split them in rough play.

She sewed buttons on my sister’s dresses
when we couldn’t afford better fabric
and still she sparkled –

a mosaic of stars.”