[Fiction] Gates

Gates

Justine told him to meet her at the iron gates.

Laurie wore his Sunday best and his sharpest shoes and he scrubbed at his skin with sand taken from the beach when the water from the well ran muddy from the summer rains. His mother pinned a wildflower on his lapel. Cap in hand he waited by the gilded entrance and paced back and forth, hoping beyond hope until the sun set and disappeared.

Justine met him in secret in the thicket the next week.

“Why didn’t you come?” Laurie asked as she wove his wildflowers into a necklace. Sometimes she didn’t like the look of one and would throw her work away to start afresh.

“But I did,” Justine replied noncommittally, her eyes angry and blue, “by the servant’s door.”

Piggy Bank

Money

My father collected coins in his pockets
Which weighed down his blue jeans into a sag
He didn’t want to fumble for exact change
And kept a wad of bills and credit cards he used instead
My mother was the planner and the one who scrimped and saved
While he slept during the day for his long night shifts
We children took his pennies, nickles, and dimes
And kept them in carefully washed jars
When he retired, we poured the pieces
Into the bank’s sorting machine
The teller smiled as we asked for the exchange into paper
Thinking it the lark of whimsical adults.

Middle Class Politics

The veteran with his hot dog stand
Attracts:
The construction worker
The secretary
The doorman
The postal worker
The college student
While the financial building workers
Huddle at the pita truck across the street
As if to say the white-collar luxury
Of $7 tacos
Immutably divides them