The Thief Taking
I saw the thief
as I went to do the shopping,
in the early morning, before his taking.
The thief looked spent.
He was waiting at the entrance, bent
over a barrier pole,
the kind that stops the ram raider clowns,
on the whole.
He had his hoodied head down,
resting on his arms. He looked buggered.
His hands were dirty, unwashed dirty,
and I guessed he was drunk or drugged
or some other state of insobriety.
I walked past him and got my things,
newspapers, bread, lottery winnings,
paid the drop-dead pretty vacant girl,
and walked back out into the world.
There was no traffic, nobody around,
and then I heard the slap of feet.
I turned and he was coming,
the thief, running, at me
carrying his takings
in a supermarket basket, something
else he’d stolen to carry his stealings.
Cans of beer, tins of food,
lots of other little goods.
He ran with grace, economy,
and speed, scooted right past me.
I think he said, “‘scuse me,” perhaps, and sped on.
In a few more slaps, he was gone,
lost in the bushes and shrubs placed
around a small urban community space.
The sliding door of the shop was just closing.
No-one there had seen anything.
I’d seen his face, the thief.
He was young, a full red beard, good teeth,
matter-of-fact eyes with nothing behind,
could have been a son of mine.
He seemed like someone just doing his chores.
Which, I suppose, he was, of course.