[Note: Kate Maynard and I went to high school together in Chapel Hill and I’ve invited her to share the poem she wrote this week.]
They claim it started with a twenty-dollar bill
like the one in my hand.
My note has ML 84304239 H,
Legal Tender, Series 2013 stamped right on it.
I assume it’s real. It says it is.
Andrew Jackson gazes out at me,
lips pursed, unruffled despite the swirl in his hair,
probably because he is backed by the White House
broadly etched on the other side,
words about trusting God arching overhead.
This paper weighs nothing in my hand,
not worth much, just enough for few sandwiches,
some small kitchen gadgets, a child’s toy,
or perhaps a pack of cigarettes,
with change to spare.
Counterfeit bills circulate, I know,
but to my unpracticed eye
mine seems real enough, but who the hell
studies their money anyway, I just grab
my change, rush off to my next errand.
But after this week’s events I think,
I must be wrong, it must be worth so much more
for someone to think a man’s cries I can’t breathe
worth absolutely nothing in contrast,
nothing Legal or Tender about it.
Katherine H Maynard 6-1-2020