Natasha Trethewey

Nights too warm for TV
we’re flung outdoors to the porch,
citronella candles scenting the space
between us, our faces aglow
in gold light. She crowds the card table
with coin banks, an abacus,
five and ten dollar rolling paper,
our tidy ledger.

I count, line the coins in neat rows,
the abacus clicking out our worth,
how much we can save, stack up
against the seasons – winter coming,
her tightly braided hair turning white;
her hands quick, filling the paper casings
like homemade sausage.

There’s money in the bank downtown,
but this we’ll keep at home
buried in jars beneath the house,
the crawl space filling up, packed solid
as any foundation.