The King’s Coin — Poem by Finn Bille

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,



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