My mom saved pennies in coffee cans,
copper, zinc, sometimes nickel, and 
those from the war-years of steel;
Martinson, Yuban, Chock-Full-O'-Nuts, 
Savarin, Sanka, and Nescafe

she kept them in the kitchen closet,
beside a stack of coin wrappers 
tied with a rubber band, fifty pennies
to a roll, tight half-dollar cylinders

58 rolls
was the rent

she would rather a home, a garden,
a proper bath, than the railroad
rooms we lived in, I'm certain

slums are slums, and
dreams are dreams,
and years go by
so quickly

when she died we found boxes,
new clothes still with tags on, 
for events not occasioned, small 
knick-knacks for shelves unadorned, 
doilies not placed atop any dresser

in her eyes I see love,
unconditional, never longing

call me when you get home

cc: Chagall 2022