Ode to Money, or Patient Appealing Health Insurance for Denial of Coverage

Katie Farris

I don’t know what money is. Moss? The mink’s crescent

teeth? Or maybe money is

the morning I woke

at dawn to wander

past the orange

blossoms, a smell with four

dimensions, touching me through

time. Is that


My uncle, Christopher Marlowe,

mad, drank the visions until he died.

You bury


To determine a family’s net

value, make a list of assets, then subtract

liabilities. Asset: Geraldine Fox’s 1948 degree in

chemistry. Liability: William Marlowe’s propensity

for hurting his daughter. Am I doing this right? Is this

the gold standard?

Asset: seeing light that isn’t there,

like a ship passing through the narrow harbors

of my eyes, scraping—

is burying treasure a cash


I once buried a half-

decayed skunk I fished from my Uncle Christopher’s

garbage can, covered in bees. X marks the spot.

In sum: perhaps the moon’s an insurance adjuster.

America’s optimistic to dye its money

green. Leaves are green

because of chlorophyll, which is the machine

that turns sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into leaf, stem, and root. All

the little blades of grass left behind by the lawn mower like Civil

War soldiers. Same as cash.

A heavy-bodied moth

caught between glass and screen casts its shadow down

into the palm of my hand: one dark coin.

Katie Farris is the author of A Net to Catch My Body in Its Weaving, winner of the 2021 Chad Walsh Poetry Award, and her collection of poems, Standing in the Forest of Being Alive, is forthcoming from Alice James Books in 2023.
Originally published:
March 22, 2023


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