Fall 1994 • Vol. XVI No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 1994 |

Black Money

A tarnished subway token and a few small coins pressed into my palm: I didn't ask for much. Dead presidents on pennies; a lighted match and a cough from you that sent me walking my one way; a corner streetlight as my guide to the underworld. That night stayed with me all the following day. (I never asked to be kept safe from strangers' fingerprints; I never called again.) Out there, the trees are brilliant with light waves, but break upon no shore. I can't step into that ocean of cut glass, swim through to the invisible. I walked through the worn down maxims willingly, summer air the only friction. Days abraded to consider the lilies of the field, ground down into the render unto Caesar. I rendered the given world (what was available to me in that unremitting light) to what would fit into the pocket, small change and the baser metals (five pennies and a nickel), broken glass filed smooth by air, anomalies of pebbles to line my windowsill. The boiling light this afternoon's the s

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