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Penny in the Fountain
Richard Allen Taylor

A concrete goddess with a placid smile
pours water from a Grecian urn
into a clamshell pool. She stares
at her rippling reflection—
or perhaps she counts her coins
(200 or so, I would guess).
Annie asks, Got a penny? Make a wish
but don’t tell me, or else it won’t come true.
Cute. But not our modern business way
which would require that we first advertise,
count the traffic, greet customers
as they wander in. Politely, we get names
phone numbers, addresses (email too).
Pennies are fine but we encourage quarters,
based on long wishing experience
and surveys that ask,
Was the fountain was clean?
Was the staff courteous?
Would you say this fountain was better or worse
than other fountains in which you have wished?
Would you recommend our fountain to others?
And did your wish (or wishes, depending
on the number of coins) come true?
Fortunately this is not my fountain. 
Annie pokes me. Go ahead. But don’t tell me
or it won’t come true. Wanting to believe,
I make the wish. I toss the penny.
This poem first appeared in High Horse Poetry Magazine, 2004.
Used here with the author’s permission.


Richard Allen Taylor lives and works in Charlotte, North Carolina, as a Regional Human Resources Manager for a retail automotive dealership group. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Taylor, having no idea he might someday want to be a poet, passed up an opportunity to double major in psychology and English because he did not care to enroll in the two semesters of poetry required for the English degree. After dabbling in poetry in his late 20s and early 30s, he abandoned poetry completely until, encouraged by friends, he picked up the pen again in his 50s. His first poems were published in 2002. Since then, his poetry has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies and he has two books to his credit.



Post New Comment:
So true...but not my kind of fountain either. Very engaging to me.
Posted 07/02/2012 10:42 AM
Wilda Morris:
A fun poem! In the last few days, I've filled out surveys for a motel and for a restaurant. It is obvious that the poet has done so, too! You really know the questions! And how clever to apply it to the fountain.
Posted 07/02/2012 09:26 AM
Survey says! another great vacation in Myrtle Beach. I wish...the real question is if you make a wish on a borrowed penny, does the wish come true? Love ya Richard...don't ever stop "wishing" your friend, Karen
Posted 07/02/2012 07:31 AM
Neat poem. I like the little survey in the middle and the fact that the speaker in the poem still makes a wish.
Posted 07/02/2012 06:42 AM

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