In Cash – Z.H. Gill

In case of sudden mist, remain
in a miniature

tank in the woods behind
your house, the back
there of your teen

years; buried in your yard
you’ll find buries
in your yard;

the stretching of the pulley is
always a safe bet in the
sense that she works

best alone; nobody often
seeks the back there
of all this.

I’ll be damned if anyone ever
touched me, I’m that

the best way, I mean—no one
could hold a candle to
anything they’ve got

going up there on Mars.
And it’s all for free
up there, too:


The way
up is just the ticket
towards a nuclear boredom,

damnéd of depth,
of anything close to a conscience.

taught me
to hate the bankers;

eat tree bark out of
necessity, they crave

the shavings
of oaks and spruces,
from great trees and those, too,

in death.

I first learned of money from the TV
screen, must have been seventeen
(I kid I kid—it was age three);

The barrel of the belly of the beast;
your secret is safe with me and
this house.

to the first annual
Birthing of Our Lady of Cash;

she missed you
last year at the sub-annual
Birthing, which we held on a super-

anchored off the Cape of
Petty Contrivances Meant to Hold You


I sat there lassoing the money; your glare
was enough for the both of us—
I’d never counted so high

before this; why do we always find ourselves in
broken beds on unshaven carpets evaluated
belittling on the Internet services?

Why did the tern that woke me for twenty years
disappear one morning, or possibly fled
by night?

And why look at me like that, you fiend, when this
was all your idea in the first place?—
I read once on a message board:

Whenever wherever my ship is moored she howls at me,
I can hear her from my rented room,
Like the bird that once did roost

here on my sill; I must have been six when I read this,
or nineteen, or twenty-five. I’ll be twenty-eight
soon—my birthday is whenever.

We had our passports stamped correctly, our documentation
otherwise in order; we had plans to flee that night for
Rome or maybe Kathmandu, whichever one would

take us.

Got the gig
by showing them
my skill with the lasso tool;

to demonstrate,
I went ahead and
removed each member of

the recruiters’
tribunal from the dead-
serious equation of their lives.

On the com-
puter’s screen I dragged
and dropped intestine and

so as to show them my
skill with the application, from

which they
demanded oh so very
much, a certain perfection

specific to
the tasks we no longer
wish to do by hand, and so

we summon
our best impression
of a wheezing man set

inside a
plastic grey box
and we command it

to play
chess with us, and
pinball, and solitaire.

(Bought the
box with the traveler’s check from
my stepfather, which he committed once I


Perhaps the final reckoning will lead
us as a marching band towards
the latest shore,

across the bridge of bombed-out husks-of-banks;
Samantha on sax (skull beneath
her boot bursts into dust);

Ruby plays a baby grand bestowed upon green-
felted parade float, drawn by Toyota Tacoma;
its bloated tires grind down the abaci,

Don the driver ploughs through countless
counting machines; in the front seat
next to him sits Rachel tugging

on her flute—for this she’s been waiting so long
she had to stop counting; Jennifer
the flag carrier waves around

the truck bed and takes a smoking break;
by satellite phone Joe calls in and
plays a little harp for us.

In my youth I switched instruments any
number of times, finally settling on
harmonium—like Nico!

you said, and then we listened to Desertshore
and we opened Roth IRA’s and
tattooed our social’s

to our chests, so we’d never forget.
But you don’t come around any-
more, not even when the

band plays.