I hoard it at all times
then take it out in September
when coins have a pencil-lead complexion
and glare is a hall of mirrors
in the brown grass, angling
the Queen into sunny pairs
in my blinded eyes, her metal necks
on the tips of their toes
which are my turning fingers.
A gold dollar does none of this—
it is not even gold but pretends it is,
flat as a lid and dirty
as the paddock’s clay.
Across the rifling air it doesn’t
go with the throw and somersault
through apple trees the way notes
unfold, purple and blue, and finish
their flight in white blossom.
I have not squandered them this year
through too many hands.
When I pick them up
they are just the same as when
the wind took them on its invisible horse
broncing and falling further eastward.
One might land in the creek
but the creek gives it back
in the palm of its sand.
It is not even wet, not being mere paper.
Once a rat ate one
but it was only a dream.
Still, I count them—
fives, tens, twenties—
and am happy the sum is right.
I envy my neighbour’s bigger ration,
but he won’t play in this way.
He stays indoors. I invite him
to watch. His no is final.
He is loyal to his house
and paints his stairs.
Craig Sherborne’s Tree Place was shortlisted for the 2015 Miles Franklin Award, and The Amateur Science of Love won the 2012 Melbourne Prize for Best Writing. His latest novel is Off the Record (Text).