Peppermint Extract: On Stealing What I Can Afford

972090467On St. Patrick’s Day,

I stole the peppermint extract.

I shuffled the tiny bottle

between potatoes

and laundry detergent.

I frazzled over coupons,

and fussed with plastic bags.

I practiced my lines

for the getting-caught-scenario.

But I wasn’t caught.

On the following Tuesday,

I turned myself in to you.

You put my shoulders in your hands

and asked me

to never steal

what we can one day afford.

I learned that you are not my Clyde,

You are my cop.

I wasn’t ready to be caught.

On two March’s plus one summer later,

I told you so.

I stole these words.

I stole these ones, too.

I stole the ones I used to love you,

I stole the ones I used to leave you.

I am stealing what I can afford.

On one month shy of St. Patrick’s Day,

two houses gone,

I don’t have you–

I have one small bottle

(minus three drips)

of peppermint extract.

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