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Jen Stein


There was a jar of coins – the jar large wide mouthed not ball mason but larger, a cavern of a jar, pickle jar from a deli counter in Brooklyn leftover at the end of a shift perhaps all paper pulled off the jar's top missing a chip or two missing from the mouth of the jar where you stuffed your hands. There were children sleeping upstairs second floor bedrooms and the jar was in the office. The jar was cracked in the office and you were in the office and I was cracked in the office and the sleeping children couldn't hear you as you took coins from the jar, you took the coins and also I was gone.

Not the first time no but yes then the jar they would never notice a handful of coins missing. They couldn't notice that you had taken quarters and splayed them out on the couch and counted them fifty and one and reaped that harvest that basket that brokerage and me and then balanced each quarter on my naked back and told me to sit still there's a pretty there's a good girl there's a champion there's a pony and you are you are were there and I was too accomplished at balance.

You never actually asked if I wanted to be your accomplice to this theft. When it was discovered, I had to pay restitution for your thievery. It was not such that I could explain no, I didn't let his hands into the mason jar, no I didn't let him into the house, no I didn't agree to meet him in the shed thinking that we were starting a game of hide and seek, no I didn't your honor I swear mother I didn't agree to this to any of it but it is mine to hold and mine to bear and mine to wrap in twine and burlap and carry with me from home to home and life to life and marriage to marriage, it's mine and I can never actually properly dispose of it in the trash or dump or toilet or compost or pitch it off starboard rails and watch it die die.

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