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Ariadne Will

Spare Change


I know how to spare change, how 

it rattles when the earth shakes—my father

cuts the slot into the old glass smoked 

salmon can so I can save, says

we’ll roll the pennies, nickels, take them

to the bank together like held hands—

together like cheap tobacco, I grab

his thumb wrong and burn my finger—

I don’t cry and he apologizes, I don’t

cry because the smoke doesn’t kill him,

because I am young—my skin grows

so fast, the burn pink, the fish

cured. The money saved—this is where 



I was a year ago—in your sweater,

in the booth by the door, it was strange

watching my classmate in a body suit

and makeup playing pool—I felt bad

by morning for staining that sweater

in stale cigarette smoke and French

fry grease and you had walked home

alone and I followed you to bed—

we giggled about everything and 

arose too early the next day. We’ve never

known how to use up our Fridays, have never

known the ecstasy of owning a fish smoker

or a motorboat, but I’ve never wanted

to rip a bong on the beach in springtime—

I’ve never wanted anything but bravery



of fish bones, of inflation of growing

up and timid-dancing in the living room—

my father tells me so many stories

and I believe them all—I believe

maybe time won’t pass another birthday,

another round of salmon onshore, spent—

they fertilize like feeding their young, like

feeding beyond me, like surviving

to adulthood is more than escaping

predators but living as ourselves, somehow,

and I want to be all muscle, unseen, strong—

I want to be here—there—all the way 

knowing the faces on the sidewalk, knowing

the September carcasses, hooked 

mouths, dead skin. I miss



my father and the ocean and everything

else—how orange and blue are the same

at sunset, miss the macaroon I drop

in the middle of the road 18 years ago,

when this town still has a video rental store—

the ravens will eat it, I wail, knowing



in this future it’s no longer the macaroon 

I miss but the ravens. No longer

a departure I crave but an accounting,

something wearing out my pockets.

Ariadne Will was born and raised in Sitka, Alaska, and is the founder and executive editor of Daylight Zine. A recent college graduate, Ariadne currently works at a university library in Oregon. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in FEED, swim meet, Alaska Women Speak, and elsewhere. In her spare time, she writes for her local newspaper, sews, and takes walks in the rain.

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