My dad and I saved our money
in a Maxwell House coffee can
with a fine slit through the plastic lid.
I loved hearing the heavy quarters
and tinny dimes drop to the bottom.
My father knew the value of a penny,
every one counted, so I’d always looked down
at the sidewalks in front of the grocery store
and the 7-11, after he bought cigarettes,
while I got a slurpee and a mouthful of Bazooka gum.
We’d gleefully count at the kitchen table,
stacking our wealth in miserly piles,
then encasing them in brown papers sleeves,
our hands dirty and silvery from the our reckoning.
That weighted walk to the bank was a celebration
of diligence. Later, as an adult, I’d find spare change
to save for a house, vacations, an emergency fund,
enjoying the value of value—that simple circle,
the rim of the coin and its reeded edge.