Switched-on Gutenberg Vol. 6, No. 2
Wish You Were Here

Math might be the universal language,
money an extension—I need that.
I give you this.
Unfold paper bills.
Elaborate etched history in brilliant
inks: green, purple, fuschia.
Handful of coins from stops
on the way—beautifully carved
horses, the heads of kings.
Hand the clerk a bill worth 50 crowns.
He wants easier change.
Give him coins from Iceland,
a bouquet of herring on the reverse,
an elegant exchange for a fish dinner
in a confusion of currency.
No, he says, in English. Search purse,
empty contents, offer it up—
he picks what he needs.

Copyright 2004,  Valerie Lawson

Valerie Lawson is the co-host of the Boston Poetry Slam and coordinator of the Reach Out And Read literacy program at Brockton Hospital. Her poems and/or photography have been published in literary journals and anthologies, as well as on-line zines and websites. Valerie has performed poetry as far away as Germany.


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