Wishing Well

My fist holds as many coins

as I can carry. All are stamped with the Queen's effigy;

Elizabeth, D.G. Regina, the resident of pockets,

a woman I've never met though I always know

her whereabouts. Each face pressed

into another person's palm before mine.

The stink of sweat and metal. The waste of it.


I wish for a return, or for justice.

It's safe to do that here. You can throw wishes away

and no one will fish them out

before the park's authority comes to drain the pool

and return the coins to currency.

Maybe I'm buying the future a Coke,

a popsicle, a bag of potato chips, a fix.


Maybe I'm trying to bribe God.

I'm not the type who says no to a panhandler,

or yes.


I scatter my spare change

all at once. Each completes its parabolic reach,

falls dead weight. I wish until the ripples still enough

to show my face: and just beyond, lit stars

bright as found dimes.

Bibliographical info

Sachiko Murakami, "Wishing Well" from The Invisibility Exhibit. Copyright © 2008 by Sachiko Murakami. Reprinted by permission of Talonbooks.

Source: The Invisibility Exhibit (Talonbooks, 2008)

Start here: