I empty my coin-purse, sort them in piles
place them parallel to the edge;
coppers left to right, then silver,
lastly one pound, two pounds. Next,
I count them. Satisfied, I file them
in jeans’ pockets, one pees left, two pees right.
I have a useful coat, two pockets,
five pees left, ten pees right,
remainder back in coin purse. Wallet
holds the paper. Every note
is facing the same way; twenties at the back,
fives in front, the tens between.
At supermarket till, I count
exactly, slowly, slowly, while the line
snakes surely past the offers, lotto,
magazines, confections, freezers, wine.
Store card fumbled, vouchers, life-bags,
careful packing. No receipts, please.
Shoppers shuffle gladly forwards
flashing payment cards – contactless;
Back at home, begin again;
the coppers to the left, then silver
to the right, and counting. Then, I wonder
whether daughter’s purse has coins
I may exchange for those of greater value?
First published in Sarsvati