At 18 months, my daughter has found the treasures
in my wallet: green Federal Reserve notes
crisp, faded and treaded on,
fiat currency running an economy
without gold or silver tender backing it,
printed wildly on cotton fiber paper
behind closed doors and heavy walls
of the banking system. She knows not
of voodoo economics and exchange rates,
finding the occasional 200 peso note
or 10 Euros sandwiched between
Ben Franklin and Abraham Lincoln
like an undocumented worker hiding in
a canyon crevice from l’migra; she knows not
of what these notes and bills and dinero mean
to people, from food to clothes to bribes and bills;
a new set of shoes for tired feet or a set of tires
for an old car—she simply likes to pull them out,
feel them, scatter them around
and then messily shove them back into my wallet
like it is an over-crowded refugee boat.

Michael Hemmingson wrote from La Jolla, California.