Just the Wrong Amount of Money
 
It’s not like he can just be a rich dude,
my friend says of a guy we know. He has
enough money to keep him from finding
a job, not enough to just work on finding
himself
. In money there are so many wrong
amounts. Zero, for instance. Not Enough
for the Commuter Rail Ticket Home when
you just got out of the hospital. A man gives me
that sad sack story on the Orange Line
platform and I say sorry, look back at my phone.
But the young woman next to me says
Let me see what I have and starts going through
her purse. It takes forever. He says I hate
asking
and she says Don’t be so hard
on yourself
. Don’t be so hard on yourself!
This makes me remember the Pope
says we can give without worry, so I look,
too, see I have ten dollars I didn’t even
remember I had. I have just the wrong
amount of money, apparently. The wrong
amount of money being, today, ten dollars
too much. So I give it away, trade it in
to feel like ten million bucks.
  
 
Built in 1905
 
I found a lace christening cap wrapped
in 50-year-old news, tugging down lath
and plaster. An ancient syringe, digging up
the backyard. We went to buy new bathroom
faucets, bitched about the tacky cursive H
and C; the guy selling sinks said What the fuck
you want, Times New Roman
? Well, yes. Thank you.
Our contractor included an Insinkerator
in our estimate without asking; this makes me feel
like a rich lady, someone who doesn’t finger food
scraps in the sink. Harold Popp, the home inspector, said
there was nothing wrong with this house you girls
can’t handle
. The asshole appraiser lowballed everything,
then said we should sell it to him. This house saved our ass
when we rented it out, when the second mortgage
paid off our credit card debt. In our new kitchen
we watch the turkey roast, roasting pan that didn’t fit
in our old oven. We wipe our beloved new counters,
eat pecan cobbler, drink more fresh coffee in bed.
 
 

Jill McDonough

Three-time Pushcart prize winner JILL McDONOUGH is the recipient of Lannan, NEA, Cullman Center, and Stegner fellowships.Her most recent book is Reaper (Alice James, 2017); Here All Night, her fifth collection, is forthcoming from Alice James Books.She teaches in the MFA program at UMass-Boston. Her website: jillmcdonough.com.

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