A Hundred Pennies

a brain so heavy and full of cavities
and bells ringing like the sound
of a hundred pennies thrown into
a savings tin, or into the garbage

into a savings tin or into the garbage
those two sounds would be very different
a mottled thud or a hollow, high tinging

a girl who is deciding whether to see him
thinks about a thousand things.
are there poetry subjects that are banned
by their poets, like me? I won’t write about
him ever again. my brain ripples
and shuts down. it thinks about jonny
and it drowns in the images:
jonny, falling asleep
into a meatloaf. jonny, saying “Let’s
celebrate something.” Jonny, reading poetry
Jonny, barely standing. and then
there will be jonny, again at the end of it,
finally dying.

It thinks about jonny before the heroin
got him. it thinks about spring, coming.
it thinks of what would happen
if she finally, finally saw him.

it thinks,she would be frightened.
her fear takes the shape and sound
of the hollow high tinging, a hundred pennies
thrown into a savings tin. it’s loud
and long lasting. to take in the sight
of him, she would also have to take heroin.
to turn the tinging into a mottled
sort of thud, and to waste her money.

she decides not to see him. She chooses
the savings tin. she invests in earplugs
since she hates the sound of everything.

9 thoughts on “A Hundred Pennies

  1. This is brilliant. And so utterly heart breaking.
    I had a friend in high school whose boyfriend died from it, right in her arms. Then I was with her when she went through withdrawals trying to hide it from her dad who was a scary tyrant. Oh my gosh…
    I’m so sorry for your loss ❤

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