The God of Pockets


The God of Pockets smiles on children.
On their thumb-polished chestnuts. And what She,
in her benevolence, sees as their innocent
lint. She sees the lucky penny
drop, knows the hunger
of keys. Knows what the landlord has tallied
on his calculator. Knows the man who sleeps
outside the library. In particular, the flattened
pack of smokes
against his chest. She’s held
the knife that carved
the crooked
heart into the tree trunk. The referee’s whistle.
The mickey of gin. The wallet, and the picture
in the wallet, and the smile
in the picture. The finally
unbearable weight of a gun
in its holster. Weight of a secret, held in.
She’s the god of tide pools. Of harmonicas.
Marsupials. A mother
bounding forty miles an hour
through the flatlands, joey
leaning out over the edge. She knows the way to a ten-dollar bill
tucked in last winter’s coat,
on a flat-broke day in spring—like one more
thing that time’s
forgotten. And on bright days
when the swing sets and the iron rails
of the monkey bars throw shadows, tall as
office towers spreading to the outback,
the God of Pockets speaks
to children. Run, She says. Take
what you can.