Learning to ride, falling down, getting back on
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Liberty. In God we trust. Or distrust.
This penny is dangerous. Minted the year my daughter was lost.
Beware of tube tops, lug-soled boots. Beware of ear piercing:
the more holes, the more trouble leaks out.
Trouble was the blue hair. The pink. The aubergine.
Fashion pages. Mirrors. Bikinis. Dope.
The boy with dreadlocks. The river guide. Magic mushrooms.
Lincoln’s looking on in profile. His lips thin, as is he.
As thin as she was. Honest Abe thought I could not tell a lie,
but I did, for when she began to starve herself,
I lost all liberty, all God-trust. There was no God.
In 1981, nothing was real but her skeletal hands
and coppery metallic breath upon my neck. Each night, in secret,
I poured out liters of saccharined diet drink
and refilled them with sugared Sprite to bring her —
my hardest, brightest, thinnest penny — back alive.