Cashing In


Cashing In



A few weeks ago, I lost my retirement.

The company I work for cut our benefits

because times are tight.

They said we should be grateful to still have jobs at all.


I’m not sure why the fact makes me feel

so worthless,

except I know no one

has ever valued me.

Oh, they say their people are their greatest resource,

but then payday comes, and the bills are higher this month

and what will I do when my kids need braces?


And then I was interviewing for another job,

and the woman, Emily, was saying

how they were still in the process of determining the market

for this position and what were my salary expectations.



I want a suitcase of diamonds or one filled with the glowing light of Marcellus Wallace’s soul.

I want a pallet of gold ingots straight out of Fort Knox.

I want a room filled to the brim with golden thread like the one the princess trades Rumplestiltskin for her unborn child.

I want a Scrooge McDuck vault of money I can swim through, a dragon horde overflowing from a cave of wonders, a Pablo Escobar mansion of cash.


I want to know my kids can go to college.

I want to know I can get cancer and get better.

I want to go on vacation and have a few drinks and buy some souvenirs and then stay an extra night or an extra week because I’m having such a good time.

I want to pay off my parent’s mortgage.

I want to buy my sister a Maserati.

I want a set of dentures made of platinum and a titanium hip replacement when I’m eighty.

I want to plan my funeral and pick out a marble crypt with a granite angel on top wielding a mighty sword and a silver coffin studded with precious gems.


I want enough

to know that my only worries

are the kind

money cannot ease.


But I’ll settle for a decent 401K.

Ben Cromwell


Ben Cromwell teaches writing at Marietta College in Southeast Ohio. He owns a chihuahua and has strong opinions about vanilla ice cream. His work has been published in Indecent, Discretionary Love, Sage Magazine, Flyway, and Sugar House Review among others. More work is forthcoming in the journal: Transformative Works and Cultures and [Insert] Literary Magazine.


  1. in the rush to sound poetic sometimes poets forget the rawness of life is not captured. hard times and hard lessons have their own poetic power

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