Mother brought two identical outfits
into the dressing room, whipped out
manicure scissors and filched
fancy buttons from one of them.
I was her lookout, peeking around
the curtain for a looming clerk.
Coast clear, Mother snipped and
snipped, then zipped those buttons
into a hidden pocket in her purse.
Your grandma taught me this trick.
Think of the expense to buy
a whole new set for every lost button.
With the stripped garment returned
to the rack, Mother warned me
not to look guilty—don't fidget
or play with your hair—
then she sashayed up to the cashier
and gushed over her purchase.
When it became my turn to snip,
I'd been outwitted. Manufacturers
now attach extra buttons to linings.
Not sure why I've kept
those scissors; no point now
passing them on to my daughter.
Nancy reads "Snipping Buttons":
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Nancy confesses: "When I was young, petty crimes loomed large. My father liked to speed. I was often with him when he got out of a ticket with a ten dollar bill. Although my parents taught me right from wrong, they omitted the nuances. I was convinced they were headed straight for hell."