Pearl Button

Pearl Button might be round like a button but isn’t a button. She does sew, bead, work with little brass bells and long sharp quills. She lives in Salish Territory, doesn’t mind that other people don’t realize they do too. She writes. Mostly surrealism, but also semi-narrative lyrics like these.


I wanted to call this poem the mourning blues
instead I got a morning in green, a rough night with pain
and now enervating distress, but strong coffee
a toasted bagel down and things seem doable again
but I’m still mindless, sitting

what to say, this low place where springs have gone stagnant / where ponds have lost access to their eau de Nile / become instead slime and stench, of rotting / thick water and the verdancy of a humming death / stagnancy of birthing chemicals / feeding ground and origin story of mosquitoes

air hums with toothed wings, sun
stirs biting-life, a wooden spoon
can be painful, wrists numb, hands
arched against the downward
pressure of letters, sensibility backed up against
bones, muscles pushed aside by the pressure to let go
to write, to disgorge ravaged thought, shredded
intent, small wounds that never stop stinging
•	where goes the peace
the calm of healed over nail-rips along thighs
•	those old white scars, yesterday’s novella
left face-down, that recognition of implacable history
dog-eared by the bedside
•	widening maw of a new bleeder, a ripped knee
or the underside of a breast raw from heat and rubbing
some acute loss of capacity for change
fading blue of venous blood
the bonds between chemicals break down
forget to reform and still
mindless, sitting

what’s left

dragging leg, an old woman’s walk, sagging
skin of a deflated life, loss and the winged
mouths of biting times, oh to sleep
but even that, quiet shut-down of lungs
forgetting to heave, loss of desire, even
to move

but then a twitch / and another leg cramp / forgotten
smooth run of a limpid musculature / that dark
memory of movement remains / and a cramp

it is forceful, pull against, almost forgotten
resistance, world-heavy obligation
of mitochondrial DNA, of ATP compel these sureties
these pleas to continued interpretation
promise to keep going, and up, stretch against the know
the squealing

pain & first sign of ease, not that she believes
in some permanent ceasefire with oncoming death
but just another shot at one moment
of beauty, or simple
happiness and ease

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