I Am Coin by Rosaleen Lynch

My spirit rests in one of the thirty pieces of your soul’s silver, tendered, a test of my undaunted mettle, I am coin, a victim of the currency that barters with my worth, not a curse, a vengeful seduction, I’m found in the Kabul hoard, amongst the punch-marked siglos, and in the ancient Athenian decadrachms, commemorating the victors of war, stamped by your patriarchal power, kept, hidden, secured in your vault, I know the feeling of heated repose in your open palm, the frank admiration of your eyes, picked up and held by my curved extremities, between your thumb and forefinger, lifted to hot breath, wiped off and turned over for the other side, I clean up good, shine, to be admired, put on show so the passing tourist can gawp or the dealer can touch and ask my price or the thief can steal me away into the evening traffic, across borders, where I pass through hands, in transit jostle, in pouches, purses, pockets, touching others, swaying, sliding, slipping under and over, like water molecules find a level, like my ancestors, the native silver of the earth’s crust, extracted to travel as the anchor in a Phoenician ship, while I have no such practical use, not the domestic utility of a thimble or a teaspoon or a locket to hold a photo of a lover and a lock of hair, no, my uses are limited, you say, to the marketplace and the gambling den, swapped around, good for a game of chance, where you choose the head or tail, flip, flick or toss into the air, land right side up every time, the medallic orientation, spun for entertainment or thrown against a wall to see who wins, see a penny, pick it up, and now I’m displayed, solo in the spotlight, propped up and wedged into a velvet recess with a name so far away from my own, it doesn’t matter how far back you go, to when I’m first coined, the first stamp of Latin die, or to my old English or Norse names, when my home vein was plundered of its silver ore, mined and smelted down as soulfour, an origin story that does not dwell on the thirty pieces of silver in the family tree, however much they jangle a reminder, and move like me, on the torso of a belly dancer, in time with the rattling of bought bones in bedroom closets, paying for religion on the motel TV, while I pray for hell-fire’s melting point and mould, or a hardening to lie in wait of the hammer on the anvil die, reincarnation, a resurrection to come, from the earth so that you may come to know my worth when I am Charon’s obol, and rest in peace in your dead body, the coin between your palate and your lifeless tongue, as the gatekeeper of your soul.

Rosaleen Lynch, an Irish community worker and writer in the East End of London, loves stories conversational, literary and performed. Words in lots of lovely places and can be found on Twitter @quotes_52 and 52Quotes.blogspot.com

Image: unsplash.com