Momma’s Folktale

Design by Anasthasia Shilov

Momma always said to never put the money on the ground.
That’s why purses always sat in car seats or were placed on laps.
Things could be left atop the desk or table or strewn out on the bed
and even perched above the barbeque. Black Cats were a reason to laugh.

When she was little the money was always on the ground,
dragged behind her small frame in burlap coffee bags.
Wealth for the girls was handfuls of Jasmine flowers strung together in a necklace.
Wealth was the red beads rolling down the hill behind her, out from the holes in the burlap.

Strega Nona’s cover is falling off onto the dining room table.
Overcooked pasta spills through the cracking spine
It shuffles among yellow legal pads:
Most crumpled, littered with lists.
Alongside sits a vase with 2008’s gossip magazines, and a bell rung every night.
And momma always found a way to bring more tables into the house
since we never put money on the ground.
The moths dance in cylindrical lights; and we wait below on the brick,
admire the frosted outlines of their abdomens and the buzzing silhouettes of wings.
They look at me from pastures of California Grass and Chicago Highways cutting through identical homes.
We stare up at the ceiling lights like they are the sun, and we decide we can’t look away.
We wait below on the brick floor of our house. A house not built on a turtle, but on a table.
We, and the money, live atop a teak table. We sit on the floor, we’re never on the ground.

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