I Wish I Could Be the Age of the Quarter in My Pocket
by Mathieu Cailler
That I just slid into my jeans
After buying two Twix bars with a
Five-dollar bill. Then it would be 1991,
And I would be seven, and my biggest
Task would be trying to sink ten jump
Shots in a row from the left oil stain
On the driveway. My crush would be Bridgette
In the grade above me, and I wouldn’t
Understand spelling well at all. I would be
Preparing—certainly on a day like today—
To call my friend Jasper and bike along the
Coast, see if I could beat him in a race this time
Along the hill by the lighthouse. Maybe, too,
We’d see a rattlesnake for real. The last time,
I’m pretty sure it was a stick. My present life
Wouldn’t make any sense to the boy from 1991.
Divorce wouldn’t connect because love was
Just a feeling between me and grandma. My current
World would embarrass the boy. I hadn’t become
A bullfighter. I never bought that Lamborghini from
The poster above my bed. I’d never moved
to New York City.
To be the age of this quarter dollar
To live like it even—sparkle, glint, hold the same
Value as years prior. Have Liberty beam
Across my being.
About the author:
Mathieu Cailler is the author of six books. His short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in numerous national and international publications, most notably in The Saturday Evening Post and the Los Angeles Times. He is the recipient of a Shakespeare Award, a Short Story America Prize, and a New England Book Festival Award. Heaven and Other Zip Codes, his debut novel and most recently published book, has been hailed “a postmodern masterpiece” by Midwest Book Review and was named the winner of the 2021 Los Angeles Book Festival.
His work include A reminder: and Microscopic, which is available soon in Erato, Issue I: Bloom
Photo: Subway Dreams by Erato Magazine via Wombo