1967 Nickel

Someone else's change is in my wallet

The silver Monticello is only a weathered outline
Even Mr. Jefferson himself
looks tired and scarred
from years of rough pockets and sidewalks

I imagine a woman with rings on her fingers
tossing the coin in her turquoise purse
but then dropping it on a Manhattan subway stop floor

A washed up musician picked it up
placed it into his cap
to occupy the empty space his acoustic notes couldn't fill
Walking out of the station
the musician tossed the coin into Bethesda Fountain
thankful he had something else to wish on besides his guitar pick

The next morning a young boy sat on the edge of the fountain
His parents argued nearby
about buying or renting a house in New York City
But the boy didn't want to move across the country
and leave his sky blue house in Seattle
He rested his fingertips in the cool fountain water
before reaching down and retrieving the nickel

Years later the boy was a husband getting on a plane
headed to Paris with his wife for their honeymoon
He took the nickel out of his pocket and looked at it thoughtfully
Without moving to New York he would have never met his wife

The nickel passes through your fingers
as you fish out a few dollars
to buy an ice cream cone for your daughter
The worn surface catches your eye
and you hold the coin up to read the 1967 curved along the side
You wonder what the coin has seen over the years
but only for a few seconds
before the cashier looks at you expectantly

You hand over the money to pay for the ice cream
and tell the cashier to keep the change