Buttons

By JESSICA ADAMS

In a long, low building with a tin roof, people from this village turn clamshells into buttons. Beyond the broken windows lie middens of clamshells, punctuated with precise and uniform holes. The gravel mixes with broken shells and thick, pale unfinished buttons. There will be no work here until May, when the surf clams have again grown large enough to harvest. For now the workers are in Ensenada and San Diego, crewing on fishing boats, washing dishes in restaurants. It is a quiet afternoon. A boy is playing under a lime tree. Red and brown mountains rise up behind the gravel yard. There are buttons scattered over the graves at the other end of the village. The button factory is owned by a Japanese company, and, year after year, the finished buttons are exported to Japan. In a store carrying necessary items, in a town on that far-away coast, a woman’s fingers brush the polished calcium sewn to the front of a blue wool coat.

Buttons

Related Posts

Image of train station

E.A. Robinson Leaves by Rail

ABBIE KIEFER
Raw granite and brick, hip roof like a helmet. At its height, it hummed: seventeen trains daily, lumbering in along the river. I imagine E.A. here with his ticket and his trunk. With his back to the brick, listening for a whistle.

Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park

Cihu

ADAM DALVA
One of my life’s regrets is skipping the Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park when I was in Taiwan. ... I spent a week wandering Taipei… but all along, I was thinking about Cihu. I’d researched the park before my trip, but my host said… he’d rather show me the art and night-life of his city. I was twenty, night-life susceptible.

Woman examines leaf

Providence

DARIEN HSU GEE
On the side of the road near our home on the hill in Waimea, a cluster of perfumed yellow ginger, Hedychium flavescens, also known as cream garland-lily or ʻawapuhi melemele.