Norwegian Krone, 1891

My grandfather once gave me a silver coin
worth two ore. On one side, a rampant lion,
crowned, and on the back, the number two,
encircled by a wreath of linden leaves.

I carried this coin in my pocket every day,
going out and coming in, while playing,
or reading in the town library, while
waxing my skis or meeting classmates to sing

every evening in the pine-ringed square.
I would slide my hand down to feel its rigid
edges, its slight markings raised in relief.
It smelled of his tobacco, his cologne.

It never slipped out, even as I hung, upside
down, in the tree I’d climbed, swaying
in the breeze off the fjord, nor when leaping
from rock to rock below the jagged cliffs.

The year stamped on its face was 1891,
the year of his birth. I give this coin now
to you, wrapped in purple tissue paper,
tied with an orange ribbon. As you move

about, as this coin jangles with its mates,
rubbing themselves smooth and shiny,
think of me. Touch its gleaming surface.
Finger its impressions. Keep it safe.

About the Author

Pia Borsheim has published one 30-year collection, and three chapbooks. She is currently sending out a new manuscript, of which these five poems are a part. She teaches at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, and lives in middle Virginia. She is also a dulcimer player, a knitter, and someone who loves live music of all kinds, theater, and the joys of a writing community.To view more of their work click below.