Bachelor Buttons, the old people
called them, found in spring
among rows of corn and winter wheat.
Worn by single men in their lapel,
left buttonhole, if they were available,
right, if they were spoken for.
Today a man plucks one
from the vase on the kitchen table,
picked from the furrows
of his fields He is going into town
to visit his wife of sixty years,
now mute in the nursing home.
He wishes she were here to help him,
his hands are not steady. But he finally
puts it in his button lapel, the right one.