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25 Cents

cheap red plastic
sort of reminds me of
the way your lips curled up
in some kind smile, i guess
you could call it.
the kind of smile that wakes
me up in the middle of the
night, has me thinking
was it sincere? did i
do it right? did you
think i was good enough?
what did i do wrong?
and has me knowing that
every little answer to
every single question is
locked up behind that
smile, right next to
the hole that swallowed
the key.
i have a george
washington and two
dimes, and four pennies
in my palm-
you were always so
willing to spend a pretty penny
to make me smile and yet
i always smelled the
millions of fingers that
must have brushed
your pocket before
mine did.
sweaty lines
polishing off
In God We Trust
the same way
you let your secrets slip
into my ears, telling me
things no one else knew
and yet
i always felt
a bit lost with a paper
bag full of your stories
carrying them around and
letting them weigh we down,
wishing i could let them slide
off and wishing i could
rinse them off your back.
and i slip my pretty
shiny little quarter-
reminds me of your smile,
the way it seemed so ordinary
until what i needed was two cents
short of a quarter of a hundred.
turn the dial and
hear the click click
almost like the
seat rising before the dip, the part
where we raise our hands and scream
and click click-
out pops the surprise!
the surprise i saw coming
it bounces into my palm
swirls around and i
pry it open
thinking how a five year
with little squeaky sneakers
would have given anything
for the click click pop of
the surprise in their little
juice box sticky fingers-
this is how i must have
felt when i saw you
with your outstretched
glances, telling me, only
a pretty little quarter.
i look at my little
plastic ring
mass produced no doubt
no, no doubts, none whatsoever
because
in the start it was give a little
take a little
twirl the dial
push my buttons
yes give a little, take a little
but in the end
all i have is a
little
plastic
ring-
all when i'd been
saving this quarter for
a little box a juice
maybe to try and
find my inner five year old
you know, the things that really
matter.
and come to
think of it, now i'm
two cents short.



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