Friday, October 8, 2010

Poetry Friday

By Barbara J. Turner

She came into the world
a dollar bill,
fresh and crisp,
hot off the press,
a brand new member of the
strong and steady Greenback family.

But something happened.
At sixteen, she changed,
turned into two quarters,
four dimes, a nickel
and five pennies overnight.
No one saw it coming.

She quit school,
ran off to the city and
joined a gang of nickel slugs
and Canadian quarters,
worthless folks, unwelcome
even in the grimiest payphone.

The penny arcade crowd lured her next.
Day after day she shushed
down slippery steel slopes
into the hot grubby hands
of pre-pubescent teens.
It was fun and exciting and she liked it.

But over time, she lost herself.
Just bits and pieces.
A nickel here, a penny there,
changes so small
she barely noticed.
When she did, it was too late.

She’d become a fifty-cent piece,
copper with nickel plating
and no silver at all,
freakish and strange,
an object to gawk at,
as odd as a Susan B. Anthony.

She took up with a ruble
who devalued her,
brought her down even lower,
then kicked her to the curb.
In the streets, people whispered,
“Loose change,” and she knew it was true.

Her green was gone.
Even her nickel plating.
She was all copper now,
a dull, worthless penny hovering
on the edge of a sewer
ready to roll in and die.

And then she saw it,
a sign in a window,
bright green letters wrapped in dollar signs.
‘Bank with us and earn.’
‘Build your savings.’
Salvation was at her fingertips.

She could save herself.
She could check herself in.
It would take time, and work, but she could grow.
She could bounce back and become
the dollar bill she’d been before.
She could even become stronger.

Why not? There was nowhere to go
but up, and this was America, damn it!
her home, her country,
the land of the Almighty Dollar
where cotton was king and . . . .
No. . . . er, wrong metaphor.

But she could come back.
She would come back.
Why shouldn’t she?
After all, tomorrow was another day.
(She’d read that once in a book.)
Oh yes. Tomorrow was another day.

Stop by Carol's Corner for this week's Poetry Friday


Andromeda Jazmon said...

I LOVE this! I am wondering if it has been published in print. It certainly should be!!

Diane Mayr said...

Good job, Barb! You are a POET!

Mur said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome! You know, I didn't notice you were the author until I read the whole thing and HAD to know who wrote this wonderful poem! Funny, deep, encouraging.

Barbara said...

Thanks, everybody!

Andrea Murphy said...

I can't even tell you how much I love this! Fantastic, Barb.

Mary Lee said...

Very fun! You had me giggling all the way through!

I'm Jet . . . said...

Wow, B. Double Wow.

This is great -- so clever and so well written.
Should be in print some place.