One Hundred Pennies


There was a slot in the fence at the end of my street
I used to pull out red rubies, plastic crowns, one hundred pennies
When you’re seven and bigger than the sun
you don’t realize a hundred pennies is only a dollar
You’ll say, “Mom, what can I buy?”
and she’ll count each penny one by one
every coin its own galaxy and every cent the key to the world
and your mom will tell you it’s enough to buy respect
You’ll look at her and say,
“Yeah, but is it enough to buy a Slip n’ Slide?”
You’ll hand the cashier the jar full of pennies and he’ll roll his eyes
and your mom will hand him a twenty when you’re not looking


In ten years, you won’t remember the Slip n’ Slide
or how the thin plastic tore a month after buying it
And your mom put it out in the shed as it collected dust for five years
And three years ago the slot in the fence was boarded up
And you no longer get a hundred pennies, but eighty four
While Jared next to you makes an average of sixteen more
because he can lift a sack of potatoes over his shoulder
and isn’t burdened with the inconvenience of having his insides ripped out every month
And if a hundred pennies doesn’t mean very much
what the hell am I supposed to do with eighty four?


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