Welcome to week two of Our Great Poetry Exploration! This week our focus is on the incredibly delightful work of Ross Gay. Yes Kym, Bonny, Sarah, (and me!) are all sharing a Ross Gay poem with you today!

I distinctly remember the first time I read any Ross Gay and before I even finished the book, I knew I needed to read more of his writing! He has an incredible way with words… phrases… line breaks… and the way he makes the simple so very profound.

The poem I am sharing today is from the catalog of unabashed gratitude (a very good place to start on your journey with Ross Gay!)

ode to buttoning and unbuttoning my shirt

by Ross Gay

No one knew or at least
I didn’t know
they knew
what the thin disks
threaded here
on my shirt
might give me
in terms of joy
this is not something to be taken lightly
the gift
of buttoning one’s shirt
top to bottom
or bottom
to top or sometimes
the buttons
will be on the other
side and
I am a woman
that morning
slipping the glass
through its slow
I tread
differently that day
or some of it
my conversations
are different
and the car bomb slicing the air
and the people in it
for a quarter mile
and the honeybee’s
legs furred with pollen
mean another
thing to me
than on the other days
which too have
been drizzled in this
simplest of joys
in this world
of spaceships and subatomic
this and that
two maybe three
times a day
some days
I have the distinct pleasure
of slowly untethering
the one side
from the other
which is like unbuckling
a stack of vertebrae
with delicacy
for I must only use
the tips
of my fingers
with which I will
one day close
my mother’s eyes
this is as delicate
as we can be
in this life
like this
giving the raft of our hands
to the clumsy spider
and blowing soft until she
lifts her damp heft and
crawls off
we practice like this
pushing the seed into the earth
like this first
in the morning
we practice
sliding the bones home.

ode to buttoning and unbuttoning my shirt by Ross Gay © 2015, the catalog of unabashed gratitude. Published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

You can find more about Ross Gay here or at his website here. And you can listen to Ross read this poem here!

Pin It on Pinterest