By Judith Goldman

My love is like the national debt, portraitless & dear,

yet billed as mine impolitic when begging was the Norm.

And my Colony of coins’ due faces cash and carry on –

empirical crowns in this exchange my organ overdrawn.

Sue a Beggar, get a Louse; to yield yet a fresh account

or at least my love’s fond fund of Interest, at any rate.

Yes, my love is like the national debt; he works

for the State Department. (How I owe You, You assay:

Cash in him for blows? & on principal to whisper my

internal cashechism.) My love, do you buy this? O, credit me

with trust & for all that I have taxed you,

by my John, Empire me, & we will prove the State

Department to mercenary bond. Let me cash you,

sweetheart; I’ll never exchange you for Another.

JUDITH GOLDMAN will read from her work at 8 p.m. Friday as a featured guest of the Burchfield Penny Art Center’s “Words” Festival. She is an assistant professor of English at the University at Buffalo and a faculty member in the UB Poetics Program. Her books include “l.b.; or, catenaries” (Krupskaya Press, 2011), “The Dispossessions” [chapbook] (Atticus Finch 2009), “DeathStar/Rico-chet” (O Books 2006) and “Vocoder” (Roof Books, 2001), in which this poem appears.