My fist holds as many coins
as I can carry. All are stamped with the Queen's effigy;
Elizabeth, D.G. Regina, the resident of pockets,
a woman I've never met though I always know
her whereabouts. Each face pressed
into another person's palm before mine.
The stink of sweat and metal. The waste of it.
I wish for a return, or for justice.
It's safe to do that here. You can throw wishes away
and no one will fish them out
before the park's authority comes to drain the pool
and return the coins to currency.
Maybe I'm buying the future a Coke,
a popsicle, a bag of potato chips, a fix.
Maybe I'm trying to bribe God.
I'm not the type who says no to a panhandler,
I scatter my spare change
all at once. Each completes its parabolic reach,
falls dead weight. I wish until the ripples still enough
to show my face: and just beyond, lit stars
bright as found dimes.
Sachiko Murakami, "Wishing Well" from The Invisibility Exhibit. Copyright © 2008 by Sachiko Murakami. Reprinted by permission of Talonbooks.
Source: The Invisibility Exhibit (Talonbooks, 2008)