Milk Money By Barbara Buckley Ristine Mornings, we marched to school, no grownup hands to guide us through the city’s perils. We slid past open metal doors, watched crates disappear into cavernous holes in the sidewalk that waited to swallow the careless, the dreamers. Sometimes, on a dare, we’d bounce on the closed ones, just to see. We carried tributes of coin, ours to trade with teacher for cardboard cartons of cool white milk. Once, my mother pinned the packet to my heart, next to my favorite handkerchief, the one with the kittens and string. At least it was my favorite until then. The coins jingled like sheep’s bells as my mary-janed feet ran ahead of my shame. That pin shouted to the world here was a child not to be trusted with anything of value. I threw the packet in the gutter, and told teacher it was lost (again). Told mommy I didn’t like milk, which became the truth. I found it tasted bitter. Barbara is originally from NY but she moved a lot before finally settling in Reno, where she’s stayed for over twenty years. She’s embarked on her third act as a student at UNR, studying creative writing. When she’s not mindlessly staring at the Sierras, Barbara writes short stories, historical fiction and the occasional poem.