For the Thief
Thank you for leaving the desk and the chair,
the books, snapshots and piano.
I’ve heard of moving van robberies
coming home from work to percussion
of empty rooms. Thank you for
leaving the trapped air
that softens the blunt edge of my day.
What’s mine – the hum of identity
still surrounds me,
though the electronics
are gone and the jewelry
that was too precious to wear.
Thank you for not spraying
the walls with coke or with piss.
Thank you being a professional,
tidy and quick, entering with a clean
silent cut, not wasting your time
or mine with vandalism or assault.
When my mother was robbed
the closets and drawers were dumped
on the floor. All that was stolen were
towels that had hung in her bathroom.
Her neighbors, the police said, had
lost their cookware. Better our houses
become someone’s mall than shooting range.
With my cousins, one in New York took
a knife-blade against her throat.
Another in Madrid was dragged
three blocks by her hair. Thank you
for knowing what you were here for,
for tending to your business without rage.
This poem models a level of equanimity I only wish I had.