I was on a field trip downtown.
I must have been about 12.
The main attraction was
going up to the observation deck
of the John Hancock Tower.
That is where I bought
a Hershey’s Chocolate Bar.
I wasn’t allowed much of these
at home, so I considered it
a prize. I got a couple pennies
and a nickel in change—
shoveling those in my pocket
and the chocolate in my mouth.
Later, we explored downtown
with our chaperone.
There was a homeless man
blowing into a jug
at the Chicago River marker.
After reading something
about the Potawatomi,
I reached into my pocket—
and looked at the prize, briefly.
I went to toss the change,
but reeled my arm back in,
stopping. An Indian head penny.
I picked in and pocketed that—
tossing the rest like a toll on that bridge.
The homeless man nodded me along,
blowing into his jug.
1892, the prize was 101 years old.
Then, we continued walking northward—
stopping when we came
to an old bronze statue
of Abraham Lincoln.
All the kids took out their pennies,
comparing how he looked.
I did the same—
and noticed mine was
young, looking backward—
while he and the others
were looking forward,
aged by the contemplation
on all that would change
by the end of sixth grade.

written on 03/23/2011 by: Matt Kane