This is the way it happened.

This is exactly the way it happened.

I sat in a public place and the little

girl wanted to operate the machine

that squeezes pennies and makes

them look like flat pieces of copper

that used to be money.

Her parents gave her fifty cents

to operate the machine and she

put the two quarters and the penny in.

Then she turned the handle and I said,

“There’s going to be one less penny in the world.”

And the woman said, “I know how it feels.

My name is Penny. We don’t have pennies

where we come from any more.

The government too them all away.

Everything is rounded either up or down.”

“I’ve studied quite a bit about the man

depicted on them,” I said and I said the name.

“That’s something else we don’t have anymore,”

Penny said, “Integrity and Character.”

The little girl took her penny

and I found mine.