WRITING: Small Change

Oil the focus of a brief conversation
slips into a dream that night
of a one-legged black man in Pittsburgh
still swinging on crutches like a pendulum
through the slick surface of day

Why didn’t I dig deeper than a handful
of change, quarters and copper and dimes?
Even once, stop for a moment
and pull out wrinkled green paper or
simply ask him his name?

What makes memory fly like the swallow
and silverflash upstream with the salmon
what makes me want to return back
to Pittsburgh and talk to an old man
before the cold winter winds come home?

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