The Button

It’s not easy to button the top
button on the dress shirt
of an old man, his chin back,

his helpless hands
dangling at his sides
imagining themselves

doing what they’re now 
unable to do as you struggle,
close enough you share

his labored breath
and feel the growing
distance between what

he wants and cannot have,
and the distance
has become you,

not done with him and this
small, unyielding button,
even after you are done.

Hear Wes McNair read this poem.