get rich quick
"what can we do to be
rich?" my mom asks
in our living room.
the ceiling is dime-covered.
in the bathroom,
mirrors crowd with ghosts.
all my father's shirts
have mice-chewed holes.
we are a family of trap doors
or else we are being eaten. i find
thread-bare elbows. my hair fall out
in woven baskets. all the spoons
caving in. become binoculars.
i say, "let's go door to door"
only the thought is incomplete.
nothing to sell. we ring doorbells.
search our pockets for something
to offer. what we need
is a yard sale or a merchandise or
a new gadget that will
make breathing easier. a flashlight
full of fireflies. shoes that tell you
when danger is coming. when you
are about to catastrophe.
in our house, money is
a kind of angel. we say,
"do you have any money?" like
"do you have any grace?" "any holiness?"
when i was small, i learned
to fish in purses. take only
as much as wouldn't be noticed.
quarters. now each theft
is a hole in the bathtub.
i plug them with my fingers.
for us, the world is always trying
to pour out. the point is
this has to happen quickly.
we don't have much longer until
the urge to be voluminous passes
& we are just a ragged portrait again.
bugs in the carpet. dust
on every windowsill.
a man opens a rung doorbell
& tells us to get a job.
we say, "this is our job"
he turns into an empty wallet.
we pocket him in case we can
sell him later. no one
goes to bed rich. the day passes
quicker than the one before
& the one before & the one before.
i get on dad's shoulders
to pluck a dime from the ceiling.
"just enough," he says
even thought it's not.
we eat pizza & consider
what we could make
out of the box. an airplane maybe
or a cruise ship.