there is a fragile beauty
about canadian money:

the no-nonsense, solid-yellow loon,
the twoonie in its bimetal bearskin;

the small fish, nickels and dimes
befriend pennies, too small for me.

only the silvery quarter lies still
in its slowly-evaporating, eloquent beauty.

nineteen sixty-eight.
and the queen, still boyishly handsome,
wears her thin crown as a wreath of flowers
on her head.

nineteen eighty.
one year before my birthday.
the queen is fifty-four.

nineteen ninety-three.
and the spark in the eye, the sheen in the cheek
is gone, for a heavier crown
and a royal dogtag.

two thousand and two years, last year.
the queen mother is dead. the relief of her daughter's face
is still fresh under my fingers; the surface, in a dotted frame,
still reflects my face.

and as certain as my fiat faith in metal,
the immortal guardian moose on the reverse,
its antlers tangled in denominations,
knows the value of the history in my pocket,
marking time with his hoof
to the availability of exchange.