Five Bucks & the Key to a Kingdom 

 By Terry Savoie
  
  
 After squirreling away five dollars & squeezing them 
 in the toe of my shoe, hiding the wad there before 
 leaving the sixth floor walkup, I hung my key
  
 on a length of string tied around my neck, grimy & black 
 with dirt-sweat since the temp that August was sky-rocketing 
 well into the high 90s & forecasted to barely miss a hundred
  
 in the shade, a banner headline for riders on the J line 
 as they read the Daily News over someone's shoulder
 while trying to maintain a balance: another oppressive 
  
 day in NYC.  So I found myself marooned as the world 
 swirled about & threatened mightily to spin out of control.  
 That was the way I traveled in '68 in the city, five lousy
  
 bucks crammed in the toe of my shoe & a dirty string 
 with my apartment key dangling around my neck 
 while my head drifted off into smog-clouds, all the while 
  
 thinking & rethinking what of Spinoza's ideas I could recall 
 after reading a page or two last night before dropping off 
 to sleep.  Exhausted.  At last!  What thief in his right mind 
  
 would force me out of my thin, cardboard-soled shoes 
 for a few bucks, I told myself.  Home back then was ten 
 adults & three Puerto Rican kids stacked in four rooms, 
  
 God's kingdom with an empty, unoccupied mattress each
 morning after the night shift at the Elizabeth Arden factory in
 Queens, welcoming me with my five bucks & a dirty stringed
  
 key like a Saint Jude medal dangling down from my neck.   

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