Lucky Penny

The London Magazine - - CONTENTS - Sharon Black

West coast, ten a.m., a ta­ble on my own. Two young women, ruck­sacks, edge-of-the-world hair, are chatting

over por­ridge. One wears a ban­danna – last night, blue Aladdin trousers, skin like au­tumn, dark spikes like an un­lit fire,

she looked at me. She sees me look­ing now, her slim arms paus­ing on the place mat

as her friend sprays oats from laugh­ing. The sea be­hind is quiet, un­rushed. Sun ebbs on my shoul­der.

A lucky penny, she presses it into my hand, I’m pass­ing it along. Her eyes are green like bot­tles sent to sea, and steady.

She smiles like she knows ev­ery­thing – turns, col­lects her ruck­sack, rip­ples from the room.

The coin’s worn, the Queen’s face is a Span­ish peas­ant’s, the portcullis just a shadow. All the lives it’s blessed,

all the rea­sons it’s been handed on – the way she van­ished through the front door like the echo of a gong.

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