The ashtray sat upon a cherry wood side table.
She smoked in the house,
upsetting her coughing roommate.
Under the ash was a white button,
now smeared gray and black.
It fell off of her blouse in 1989,
the year her mother moved away.
Every time she lit a cigarette
she thought of her mother,
far away somewhere collecting
porcelain dolls with rosy cheeks.
Nothing fazed her,
not even the last hurricane
that soaked the first floor.
The only thing she ever winced at,
was that old white button.