“Currencies” by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

Kristin Berkey-Abbott


You will not need the pieces of paper
that used to define
you: the deeds, the degrees, the diplomas.
Leave them behind.

Leave, too, your dollars and coins.
Now your currency will be clementines
and tangerines. The ferrymen
prefer fruit.

You spent decades struggling against your shape,
but now you will be grateful for the extra calories stored
in your hips, the strength
in your stocky thighs.

Dig into your long-neglected
backpacking equipment for your waterproof
matches and purification tablets.
Hope for the best.

Sew seeds into your hemlines.
Seeds will be the new gemstones.
Take all your needles and strong thread.
Cut your hair haphazardly.

Fill your small shampoo bottle with champagne.
You’ll need it for disinfectant.
Pour yourself a glass of wine; admire
the crystal in the candlelight.

Sink into sleep,
one last night of softness
before you strap your sturdy
boots to your feet to set forth.

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012
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