The quarters were kept in an old apothecary jar
with a chipped rim on the windowsill over the sink, lined up
with the rest of the antique bottle collection:
A cobalt blue cold cream pot with a rusted metal lid,
The squared bottle with a skull watermark
visible only at a particular angle,
so many others, old friends I can no longer remember.
Our furniture was all hand-me-downs, some even antique.
The best sheets I’ve ever owned were handed down
after my great grandmother died – cotton
with a thick soft hand like suede.
Even our mattresses: thick and soft, you sank
into them like a hammock, cradled.
Instead of oriental rugs, there were rag
rugs made by my great grandmother.
My doll tea set – that I still have – is stamped “From occupied Japan.”
And all I wanted were new, store-bought things,
or to appear as though we could afford it.
I wanted to feed quarters into PacMan,
enough to get to the end. Enough to win.
Ten dollars isn’t much now, but was everything to my parents then.
I had a glorious afternoon as someone else,
someone who could spend ten whole dollars on a game.
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