They pitch them to you on the job:
U.S Treasury Savings Bonds—
tiny bites from your paychecks
you won’t even notice,
a sound investment in your country,
plus a locked-in return after thirty years—
but they’re really hoping you’ll die
first, leaving those Series EEs unclaimed,
the original paper kind they don’t make anymore.
Or maybe it will slip your senescent mind
that they’re waiting in the metal mouth
of the safe deposit box, inching toward maturity
and oblivious to the passage of time,
keeping company with your birth certificate,
the title to the car you rarely drive
and the deed to the falling-down house
you’ve paid off.
Now it’s winter of the thirtieth year,
who would have thought,
so you bundle up and go to the bank
where everyone wears a mask and the P.A. system
plays “Jingle Bells” over and over.
From the sealed envelope
you retrieve those pristine bonds
still holding their deferred promise of profit
and you hold them to it. Though
unrecognizable, even to yourself,
as being the one who bought them,
you cash them in.
Ruth Holzer is the author of eight chapbooks, most recently, “Living in Laconia” (Gyroscope Press) and “Among the Missing” (Kelsay Books). Her poems have appeared in Blue Unicorn, Faultline, Slant, Poet Lore, Connecticut River Review and Plainsongs, among other journals and anthologies. She has received several Pushcart Prize nominations.