The Secret of Life
by Ellen Goldsmith
I grabbed the streetcar from Fisherman's Wharf
to the Ferry Building to save my feet for later.
My dollar bill, wrinkled and worn, resisted disappearing
into the slot. I stuffed the transfer
in my pocket without looking.
As the streetcar rounded the Embarcadero,
I called my mother-in-law with mother's day wishes,
imagined the conversation
I'd have with mine, were she alive.
On exiting, I asked the conductor
how long the transfer would last.
I gave you extra time, he said.
Just show it. Hardly anyone looks.
It's good until it's taken away.
"The Secret of Life" by Ellen Goldsmith from Such Distances. © Broad Cove Press, 2009