Today's poem is by Daniel Corrie


               Money is time given permanent form —
               though of course only for a time.
               —Howard Nemerov

The backs of dollars open in
the green inscriptions. A dollar's center
opens, a window of white space.

The window looks toward some distant
destination, some destiny
beyond the laurels of green ink.

It is a distance never to be
manifest. The whiteness of snow
descends into the vista of snow,

oblivion's cartography.
The blankness at the dollar's center
becomes the ground of every wish.

In the dollar's field of emptiness,
the green ink colonizes to
a figure. Its contour's capitals

inscribe the great, green ONE.
It boldly dawns, like meaning's shape
imprinted on the void of white.

The bill's four corners echo it
tolling a plural loneliness

of each divided, as each is swept
separately to separate corners.
One by one, hand by hand,

nations of hands reach out to grip.
Turning and turning in cyclonic
swirls of fingerprints, all dollars

will gust from hands, funneling higher
in circuits of the ancient winds
intent to own all human keepsakes.

Like a world burst into bees,
bills swarm and veer into a blur
of fortune's humming, churning cloud.

As bills reverse, they turn their edges
to disappear, then ripple into
human faces. Enshrined in ink,

Washington meets the viewer's gaze.
Hamilton and Jackson stare
away, past crests and troughs of values.

Their solemn faces drift in fame
as though across small movie screens.
Like single, frozen frames from movies,

they act their roles beyond their deaths.
They pose in postures of permanence,
forever in their paper countries.

Hand after hand folds and unfolds
currencies tarnishing in commerce,
soiling with oil of hand after hand.

The spectral smudge of every touch
is left behind, faint evidence
of spending's ghosts, of endless costs.

Once upon a dime's bright time,
a miser hoarded treasure, till
he'd emptied all of his time's tills.

Once pawned, a time can never be
redeemed. Rich dreams of futures steal
untils. Years roll away, like pennies.

Copyright © 2004 Daniel Corrie All rights reserved
from Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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