Poetry by Sarah Borsten
If we averaged this amount of water spread equally over the lower 48 states, that’s the equivalent of about 0.17 inches of rain — roughly the height of three pennies stacked atop each other — occupying every square inch of the contiguous United States.
– Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post
Imagine that the pennies first gather along one coast, the lip of a state or perhaps in a secret valley in the North, made suddenly lush with sounds of old copper the coins falling more heavily than January hail. Deer looking up from wild blackberries crows flying erratically skyward as the ravine beneath them fills with pennies. Imagine you’re there to witness the steady crawl of this flood spreading across every surface of these divided states each deep canyon each crumbling wall the floor of your childhood home pennies amassing in even stacks of three. Imagine everyone holding everyone else’s hand helping neighbors settle helping toss threadbare carpets across the jingle of coins slowly growing accustomed to this rising surface. Now imagine the pennies held in fourteen million swimming pools the pools stored in mazes of gated communities keypads glowing red against the rest of the country. Now imagine the pennies as water. Now imagine the water laced with rainbows of petroleum and benzene dumped in pools the size of Texas. Imagine the pennies we thought were water were draining numbers in bank accounts hands we held in our own now empty the water still warm and rising.
Sarah graduated from the 2014-2015 Poetry Certificate program at the Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland, OR. Her poetry has appeared in Jerkpoet, 1001 Journal, VoiceCatcher, Roanoke Review, and SUSAN. She leads a double life working for a local HR consultancy, finding grays between the black and white lines.