Caitlin Thomson


They called it Bargain Basement Faith,

and I did not know how to interpret that.

I imagined the aisles of the church lined with

clothes discarded from Value Village

and Goodwill, large bags of transparent plastic

stuffed full of children’s tee shirts.

Of course they could have called it Bargain

Basement Faith, because they believed in the essentials –

the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Everything

else had to go. Or perhaps the church only met

during emergencies, fire licking the walls

a congregation of strangers kneeling together.


We have left our dimes to the gods,

placed pennies on gravestones,

just like mother told us. A childhood of

giving away small change. The quarters are ours

to keep, everything smaller belongs

to what we do not understand, she told us

this with a kiss on each cheek, before licking

our palms. I wear a business suit to work.

I have a child in daycare now. A wife that

cooks me meals and asks about retirement

funds. I empty my drawers, my jean pockets,

of small change. I visit the graveyard without

my family, and leave all the dimes

at the statue of Dionysus. I don’t know

what you do with your pocket change,

or if you have any, but I imagine

that you still give it to beggars on the side,

to any parking meter that is flashing red.


Caitlin Thomson
‘s work has appeared in numerous places, including: The Literary Review of Canada, Radar, Going Down Swinging, and the anthology Till the Tide. Her second chapbook Incident Reports was recently released by Hyacinth Girl Press. You can learn more about her writing at