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Bad Pennies

Pennies don’t go bad from mere
Exposure to the air;
They need immersion–turbid, warm–
And gentle, cruel care.
Don’t let their tarnish verdigrize.
Don’t keep it bright or clean,
But mold it, topiarylike,
Into a thing of green
And verdant, fertile, grasping hands
Impossible to sate.
Then turn them loose in pocket change
And watch them propagate:
Each zinced-out copper currencette
Will sow discord and strife
And reap a feast of misery
From someone’s ruined life.
Don’t act surprised to see it work,
You who set loose the flood.
There’s a reason, after all,
That pennies taste of blood.

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