Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Reverse Pickpockets

The reverse pickpockets
are all over the city.
They loiter in the mouths of alleys
near the main streets, the busy squares.
They know every place hurried, everywhere
they might find your unguarded back.

The reverse pickpockets are good;
they’ve trained in mountain schools
with dummies and old coats, wires, bells.
They know how to feel their way through you,
to find every opening.

And they slip useless objects – old packages,
wrapping paper, untangled bows
into your pocketbooks, the linings of coats,
the odd pouch.

The reverse pickpockets live for
the stories you will make up,
trying to account for the open ring box,
snug in the bottom of your coat,
the whole day long,
closer to your heart than your own hands.

The reverse pickpockets leave things
they know will unravel you with wondering,
and they lie in bed smiling at how you must be
in some empty room, with some empty box,
fingering it fascinated
like a wound you find on yourself
in the morning
that you can’t remember, that you have to study –
touching to see how much it can hurt.

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