The National Poetry Review

Maria Terrone


the root of all rot. In the “got”
of getting, it’s the ache of wanting
more. Poor me, Queen of the Dollar Store,

three-floored Jack’s, Lot for Less,
kneeling to pavement to pocket a dime.
Somebody hides behind cardboard,

its hand-lettered sign a confession
of failure, the greatest crime of all.
In a knit cap—frayed offering cup—

lie two crumpled dollars. Follow
the money. Get it. Spend it. Save
some of your hard earned.

Time is money: the day is done,
gone the sun. Falls the night,
come the C-notes, doors opening

to back rooms, their jingle-jangle
and thumbed stacks. Fend
for yourself. Do not a lender be.

Make it big and for kicks, fling
some bucks from your window, then duck.
Such fun to disrupt the civic order.

MARIA TERRONE is the author of the poetry collections Eye to Eye (Bordighera Press), A Secret Room in Fall (McGovern Prize, Ashland Poetry Press), The Bodies We Were Loaned (The Word Works), and a chapbook, American Gothic, Take 2. Her work, which has been published in French and Farsi and nominated four times for a Pushcart, has appeared in such media as Poetry, Ploughshares and Poetry Daily and in more than 25 anthologies. She is poetry editor of the journal Italian Americana.

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