TWO TINS OF LACE
DAVID M. ALPER
Both my grandmothers kept their dresser drawers tidy,
carefully creased hankies, lace bits, laurels, and pins.
My Oma’s powder puffs were the colors of dreams:
night-robe sky blues, downy emeralds, and pensive pinks
made of silk-like material,
a child’s idea of virtually flawless objects.
Yet not more flawless than my father’s mother’s button tin
in which fasteners of all sizes, tints, and years,
some silvery or sequined or assembled of cloth,
were clinched closed.
They were for sewing when I wasn’t there.
When I was, the tin was for sailing and sinking,
a tub toy of such applicable appearance,
brimming, brilliant, and buoyant,
a bantam sailor-tailor’s treasure trove,
under water, like a seven-year old Cousteau.
I opened the lid to sift buttons through dry fingers,
judging a few to view and poise on my palm,
or juggle from hand to hand, free-flying if I defied.
As I grew slightly older
a spill of familiar buttons: a needle, a knot, and habiliments,
pulled and eased my sorrow of losing both my grandmothers,
through quartets of round and open spaces.