Monday, March 19, 2018

The Thief

     I saw him run across
    My yard.  I stepped out
    As he struggled over my
    Fence and paused at the top to
    Give me an insolent smirk.
    I followed him to the
    Mall where he joined

    Eight boys more and their
    Leader who brashly
    Watched – wary that I might
    Be a  challenge.  “Good
    Morning,” I said thrusting
    Forth my hand.  He smiled
    Guilelessly.  I went on to

    The boy who smirked with
    A start-something-and-you’ll
    Regret-it smile.  “Do you plan
    To run through my yard again,”
    I asked?  “What if I do?  You
    Can’t stop me.”  I grinned, “nothing
    Back there I’ll miss if you want
    It.” His brow creased. The
    Smirk disappeared.  “You called
    Her beautiful, but she’s not.”  He
    Was puzzled – wanting an answer.
    “Ah, but she was,” I entered onto
    A more familiar path.  What you saw
    Through my window was her at seventy,

    But look at me.  I’m eighty three
    And I remember all those years when
    She turned heads.  When men of all
    Ages admired her.  You are what, twelve?”
    “Thirteen,” he lied.  “You run in your little
    Gang with your little friends never thinking
    Until you look through someone’s window

    That you’ll age – unless you are cut short
    For your effrontery.”  “You?”  “No, not me.
    “Are you a thief or a Peeping Tom?”  “I’m
    No Peeping Tom,” he growled.  “I was
    Just looking for something to take.”  “Time
    Will steal your years as it did hers.  We liked
    To hike through mountains on windy days.
    Dust kicking up, watering our eyes.  When we
    Got to the top and stared back down it seemed
    We would never die.  I turned her gently
    And looked in her beautiful eyes which
    Twinkled as she looked back.”  You’ve never
    Known a look like that, and you never
    Will, thieves are such short-lived

    Creatures here .  “I’m doing just
    Fine,” he snapped.  “So you say,
    But there is no path up there
    For you.  You will never be as
    Old as she nor see what age
    Does to the face one day you might
    Have shaved.”  “You don’t know that,”

    He said, wishing I would go away.
    “Not many change – you in your
    Small band steal small things
    From houses and yards.  You’ll be
    In prison in six years and dead before
    Your forty-five.”  “Don’t talk like that!  I’m
    Sorry I saw the picture.  Sorry she was

    Old.”  I smiled wryly, “seemed time
    Someone told you what it's like if
    You stay in school, learn what’s
    Worthwhile and what is not. 
    You can’t see the mountains from
    Here – too many years must pass.
    You can’t imagine the beauty that

    Will be there if you last. You’ll walk
    With her on trails through rain and
    Wind that creases the corners of her
    Eyes. You’ll squint at what you see
    If you can look back at the
    Way you’ve come -- and if
    No one steals her away.

No comments: