I know I promised to keep King Christian
safe in my pocket on his Danish coin,
but I lost it on the Greyhound bus
between Chicago and L.A.
I have gone back to Copenhagen
between castle and canal
where I, then five years old, had held
the flag and mother’s hand
as his empty-saddled horse
rang steel on granite cobblestone.
The coin shop clerk ransacked his drawers
until he found King Christian’s krone,
apologized for smoothed-out edges,
the king defaced and pocket-worn.
He did not understand when I said,