Rachelle McKimmon, Metal Makes Money

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My father takes me to a scrap yard 

A lonely place, I cling to his hand.    

The noise of metal, crushing in my ears 

Desperate to escape but I could easily get lost   

I ask him why there is so much metal 

He answers, everything here has money. 

 

I don’t understand his love of money.

 We are enveloped within the yard,

Looking left, then right, past the metal

Objects trying to grab my free hand

My father, needing to recoup what he’s lost

No secrets; the empty cars have ears.

 

When the cars are eaten I cup my ears

A dirty man smiles, counting his money,

Like he’s always gained and never lost.

He is the proud owner of this scrap yard,

My father tells, going to shake his hand.

His scales welcoming our sack of copper metal.

 

He narrows his eyes, ‘it’s not nicked, this metal?’

We shake our heads, redness reaching my ears.

I notice a cut, and the start of blood, on my hand

Father promised me treats with some of his money.

I’ll show him my wound once we’re out of the yard,

Because if I distract him we could both become lost.

 

Mother says what Father gains will be lost

By the end of the night. She used to wear metal

On her fingers and he may have to sleep in our yard.

He’ll come home late, singing, piercing my ears

And mother will cry, big tears, and quiz him on money.

As morning arrives they’ll be holding one another’s hand.

 

Father grips the scrap earnings tight in his hand

I’m free to wander but warned not to get lost

The mountains of scarp; monsters of money

Machines once alive but now sad lifeless metal

I think I am being followed – eyes and ears

It’s my father, waving to me from across the yard.

 

We’ll be back to this yard; treasure in his hand

 My ears are cold and the song in my head is lost

He hands me a coin; all metal makes money.

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