dolor of pad and paper weight
                        --Theodore Roethke, “Dolor”

Put Roethke’s poem aside.

Tap “dolor meaning”
into Google and its spell check
will underline dolor,
the instantaneous query
appearing below suggesting
you must be searching
for “dollar meaning.”
tells you that dolor
perhaps carries more weight
than you first guessed,
its burden that of “ pain,
grief, distress; anguish.”

Although the first taler
was minted in 1519,
a dollar, free
reassures you, is “the standard
monetary unit of the U.S.
and its dependencies, divided
into one hundred cents.”

Pull a penny from your purse
or pocket: A dollar is worth
one hundred iterations
of “Liberty” and “In God We Trust”
and one hundred profiles of Lincoln,
his worn face minted by dolor.
That’s what a dollar’s worth,
250 grams of copper coated zinc,
and on the reverse of those pennies
one hundred Memorials.

About the Author:
William Aarnes lives and teaches in South Carolina.