Winter Aconites

To the college kid, who came into the bank yesterday at noon

striding up to the teller window, all smiles and confidence,

digging your wallet from the back pocket of your tan pants

with the cuffs rolled up just so,

telling the woman behind the counter

I admit it. I cannot manage my money,

asking for a hundred bucks in cash:


You wondered derisively what was playing on the radio,

a child’s plastic radio, yellow and red, angled into a corner,

gathering dust,

a radio outgrown and left behind, exchanged, perhaps, for an iPhone

tucked in a pocket.


The teller laughed uncomfortably,

and so did the woman who sat at her deskĀ before me,

staring at the computer screen.

Moments before you came into the bank,

she was talking with me about the high cost of college education

and her hopes

for a scholarship for her daughter.


You went on to say that the music is throw-back eighties, and that

all you could picture was big hair.

The teller laughed again and said you

were probably right and then added an apology: It’s lite rock.


You looked around the bank for an audience, putting

yourself on stage,

perhaps a pedestal,

and said you never knew a musician

who aspired to say he was a lite rock guitarist.

And then you added that you listen exclusively to jazz.


I sat there, my son’s crumpled dollar bills in my hand,

waiting for the computer screen to

unfreeze so I could open his account.

I tried to understand:


Perhaps you saw yourself, twenty years hence,

clicking keys on an adding machine,

staring at a computer screen,

wondering how you would pay for your children’s college.


Perhaps we saw ourselves twenty years ago,

our confidence untempered by time.


Perhaps none of us liked the image

of what we saw, our past and future selves

reflected in the other, each content with our nows

but not with our thens.


I left the bank and headed home, the music playing on.

And I saw that the winter aconites had

confidently opened their faces to the sun,

knowing not the

foibles of humanity.



One thought on “Winter Aconites

  1. winter aconites are part of the Buttercup family aren’t they?
    My best friend and I love buttercups, it’s “our thing” and reading this I felt such a vise around my heart, (money matters do that to us, don’t they?) until I read the “winter aconites” and I felt the sunshine of hope.

    I loved the tone and voice of this, it was just right for the scattered thoughts of the various characters as they encountered one another.

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