—for Helen Boni
As a kid
I’d find a silver quarter
once every two years or a silver dime.
And I’d find World War II nickels with silver
throughout my 20s
as most hadn’t clued-in.
I haven’t found a silver coin
in 20 years.
Still find an occasional wheat-ear penny.
Have two on my desk.
The ‘55 still with luster.
It’s in superb condition.
“Superb” is not a coin grade—
the wheat ears contain clear lines
and Lincoln’s facial structure is barely worn.
The ‘45 has that yellow tone from melted shell casings
as World War II was coming to a close.
Lincoln’s cheekbones are smooth
and the ears of wheat lacking.
I no longer have grades memorized, but I’m thinking
“Fine” would do it.
When I was young
reading the coin grades
wanting my worn coins
to be better than they were
I imagined qualities
that weren’t there.
would give me rolls of coins to go through
when I visited her in Little Falls
and in one roll of pennies I found two 1909 VDBs.
They weren’t S’s
but in lovely shape
and I wondered years later
if she’d planted them.
Like my dad hooked a northern pike on my line
after I’d gone to bed when I was 9, where I’d set the pole
in the ground near shore with a minnow on the hook
being told pike come in shallow at night to feed.
Now these pennies roll around in a hand-made dish
I got in Costa Rica.
The other day a reed bracelet sold to me by a teenage boy
in northern Thailand sprang from the dish
as I closed the closet door
reminding me of him walking back into the jungle.
Reminding me of the donuts made fresh before sunrise in the wok of oil
by the 7-year-old boy on Doi Ang Kang Mountain,
Burma in the distance.
The women’s teeth black from chewing beetles.
About the author
Craig Cotter was born in 1960 in New York and has lived in California since 1986. New poems have appeared in many places, including…Read the full bio
Issue 22 · April 2015
Table of contents
- From the editors
- Next to the River
- Four poems by Christine Potter
- Two poems by Rimas Uzgiris
- Another Art
- Two poems by Bonnie Bishop
- 1955-D and 1945-S
- Outside Ngaoundere
- Three poems by R L Swihart
- Two poems by Eugenia Hepworth Petty
- City Lights, Dirty Window
- Freedom Fries
- Five poems from Shoshauna Shy
- Edinburgh, Alone
- The Road to Managua
- Postcard Prose
- Travel Notes