A Jar Full of Gold: A Poem

A Jar Full of Gold

by Joel E. Jacobson

The old man spent his life
saving nuggets for the jar.
Before he went to sleep
every night, he counted
what he earned that day
and listened to the rich melody
of his exponential wealth.
He remembered how he came
by every ounce of gold
(either by not spending
or spending significantly
less than he should have)
and chose one coin every night
to hold in his sleep like a child
holds his favorite stuffed animal,
though he never outgrew
his gold. The man died
in his sleep, grasping one
tarnished coin as if he was
trying to smuggle
a little contraband from now
into the country of tomorrow.
It was his favorite because
he didn’t have to spend it
on that one family
vacation when they all
ordered water instead of wine.
No wonder he showed up
on the steps of eternity
missing both a hand and a heart.
His children, meanwhile,
massaged the rigor mortis
and the coin from the corpse’s
hand. The rope was already tied
and the jar already hoisted
when they tossed the last
coin in with others,
as if wishing at a well.
Accounts settled, they made
the servant apply the blindfolds
and supply the sticks
( broom handles, actually)
and spin them dizzy
(to the other side of the room)
so they could whack
at the gold their father
never let them touch.
While they played piñata
with themselves in the corner,
the servant took down the jar
and walked into the night,
a soft, syncopated jingle.
One boy thumped something
blindly, harder when he heard
the screams. In the morning
the servant returned empty handed.
He sifted through the pile
of unconscious bodies.
The boy on bottom, the dead one,
had removed his blindfold.
The rest left theirs in place,
content with the feel
of crunching glass
and gold raining
from the ceiling.

__

This is part four of the Storytellers project. Part 1, 2, and 3)

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2 thoughts on “A Jar Full of Gold: A Poem

  1. It seems more like a short story than verse to me friend, But objectiveness is what the audience offers. I only wish i could share the stunted ignobility of the emotional tangles i long to rail at the world. With my thoughts i feel Powered with the grace of words to scream. Sadly i cannot raise my tiny voice in this maestrom we must now confront. Best, C.

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