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Amber Buttons

Set-Byul Moon


At night she sits tight like a tree

With five fruits still growing and

Shaking feeble limbs and leaves

About to wither

Feeling dry air mummifying her from inside

Letting three amber buttons with loose threads

She just took from her husband’s silk jacket

That she brought as a wedding gift for the groom

She takes part of things stolen back as she retrieves them

From her husband’s mistress

It was the only victory she can savor


Those amber buttons are big

Decorated with gold and silver stalks bearing them

It shines, showing off her noble heritage

One of three has a bug inside

Trapped in a tree’s sap, stuck there forever in time

The bug has watched everything–everything

Making the stone more precious and genuine

Is it a mosquito or a fly? Did it know when its legs were dipped

When couldn’t it move? Does it preserve a soul as well as body?

She clenches them and cries quietly in dire serenity

Bitter anguish hardens her like the honey-colored resin

Shielding the woman’s pride and sorrow

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