Their original purpose—
to drape loose cloth
close to the body,
accentuate a torso,
or hug a bodice.
Pearl fasteners heightened
women’s breasts.
Gold buttons flaunted
men’s muscular arms.
In medieval times,
buttons were the privilege
of the wealthy—
brass and copper,
diamantine and pewter,
romantically arrayed
as broaches or motifs.
The invention of modern plastic
made them common—
mass-produced in round shapes.
We have forgotten why
they were first fashioned.
Their very placement
anticipates nakedness.
Punched holes leer
like pairs of peeping eyes.
Clothing becomes more tempting
to remove as we pluck, turn,
and twist with passion
the provocateurs of lust.