I am the Thief (a poem)

The title comes from a chapter of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Saint Genet; the rest comes from an afternoon ferry ride with a supposedly ‘routine’ escort by Coast Guard vessels, and the news. My attempt at commentary isn’t successful, but if I still think this poem worthy after some time has passed, I will have plenty of opportunity to work on it…

I will be the thief
I will take what will be taken from me
pretending that I am free
allowing the hum of recognition
to vibrate through bone and floorboard alike

I will be the thief
assuring you the unusual is routine
pretending the thrashing of the waves
and the half-unholstered weapons
make things safer for everyone

I will be the thief
giving witness to the blood of the faithful
taking what they take from me
with open arms stretched out wide
in a final call to prayer

I am the thief
I will steal the revenge you will seek from me
withholding answers to the question why
leaving the skies cloudy and spirit dark—
you will never be the same

(15 March 2019)


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