JJ Buttons is a resident of Fort Kent and is pursuing her English degree at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. She has recently been experimenting with poetry and creative nonfiction, and uses these mediums to express her seemingly chaotic ideas and observations. She hopes to continue this experiment at the Bennington Writing Seminars in January of 2008.
Where is your soul?
Is it flitting about
O’er your casket and friends?
O’er me and your eulogy?
O’er a priest in strange clothes?
Is it somewhere else
Or is it here, where you think it should be
Or is it there, where you want it to be
Or is it there, in strange clothes?
I wish I had known you better
Than I feel I knew you when
You were alive and fragile
Or before that even
When you were wild and reckless.
But now, feeling a strange sadness
Echoing through a cave I’d never known,
I can only sit and flip through pages
In a sacred language I can never understand
And look for your words somewhere deep in there
And wish I could fold myself in things you’ve said:
...My Jenna, put your cold hands on mine...
Even in death, you were warmer than I.
Ottava Rima for a Maine boy gone South.
Mothers weave woolen socks to mask their timeless pain,
their family looms lie silently filled with fraying tears,
weaving together all their war thoughts from Maine,
gathered from the agony of many lost years.
They hurl their shuttle against inner rain,
and curse the day they become such seers,
watching their boys with that blood and those guns,
barely able to name them their own sons.
When he comes home and rings the bell,
the family oak casting shadows on his dull shoes,
Will he find comfort in my linen’s smell
or wish for summer’s cucumber in kudzu?
Will he think fondly of our old gray well
and kissing Katie shyly as it was all that he was up to?
Or will every happy thing that once made him our son,
sink South into a vile pool of blood with friends and guns?
As of Yet and Before
Running water really tips of fingers along your field of coarser hair
I lay in furrows side by side seedlings of our children there
Before a literal joining, in our thoughts they are born and evolve,
but yet sooner than Soon in my deeps he'll dissolve.
And they will be free, we'll weigh their heads in our hands,
and watch them explore with five toes set to sand,
we catch the budding lights of know in their eyes
and watch with wonder their branches of soul touch the skies.
Our hairs grow coarser still and theirs
till our embraces resemble bears
one white, one gray, one brown, one tan,
we run tips of fingers along new hands.
We need and trust them to plant afresh
and as arms entwined we top the crest,
we glory in all our love can yield
and water runs from eyes toward our illustrious fields.