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change (1) by alexander zhu


At the Puyallup Fair (now called Washington State Fair)

I am asked to find a penny of my birth year

As I sift through the cold bowl of rusting copper

A white/-haired woman in a wheelchair asks

“Do you have any from 1933?”

So we look for the darkest, most beaten pennies

Among the newborn twenty-eighteens and twenty-nineteens

Wonder: are there as many pennies from a year

As there are people born in that year? How rare

To be old, to have changed hands hundreds of times and not be lost

Or to be in the same pant pocket for decades

Building up a blue-green foundation upon your face

Before a violent foamy vortex finally flings you into light of day

If I keep my 1996 in my wallet forever

Never lose it to some dimly lit diner booth

If it never falls out of a hole formed from strings of repetition
If I make it to the age when 1996 is impressive

What sort of change will surround me?
Will the penny be obsolete by then? 

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