Naughton’s Quarters
Paul Hostovsky

Sometimes when I’m jogging
in the cemetery,
I steal a few
quarters from Naughton

because I need them
for the parking meters
when I’m driving.
This I confide to a friend

over lunch, adding:
Naughton has plenty
and doesn’t drive anymore anyway,
and it’s not like Naughton’s neighbors

notice. Plus his descendents
keep replenishing them—
it must be some kind of tradition,
like placing stones, or flowers—

and then there’s the tradition
I’m upholding: the grave-
robber’s tradition, the living taking from the dead
what the dead have no need of.

My friend stops chewing.
He looks alarmed, pillaged,
like he just bit down on something hard
and realized it was his own filling.

Put the quarters back, he says.
The dead have need. They have need.

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