I may have posted this poem some time ago. If so I apologize to my long time readers. It feels relevant now somehow as I contemplate the have and have nots. I cleaned it up a bit too :)
To The Person Who Broke Into My Car
If I had known last Saturday when we were hiking
that we’d come out of the forested oasis where
every inch of ground was softly cushioned with needles and ferns,
the path springy in places, as were our moods,
that my car window had been broken
(not in sharp shards, but into bubbled molecules,
so rounded in fact that I stopped saying no the little boys
who wanted to touch it badly),
I might have written a note on the steering wheel,
something like, “Please don’t do this, it’s not worth it!”
or “YOU ARE SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS!”
You must have noticed my minivan is ancient and dirty,
there is a rust spot near the bumper sticker which says
“Go Play Outside” which we were doing on this gorgeous day.
The other message “Buy Local” perhaps you interpreted as “Steal Local.”
You must have known it was a family car by the stuff strewn about,
a soccer ball, kids’ tennis shoes, a few granola bar wrappers.
You didn’t even nab the goodies, my mom perks-
a decent bottle of port I anticipated sharing with girlfriends on the full moon,
it was right next to a guitar tuner on the passenger seat,
and my biggest splurge of the year, Juicy Couture sunglasses on the dashboard,
the frames alone were over 100 dollars,
designer, as was the purse, I loved that little white leather bag
wore it slung over my shoulder, so proud I got it half off at Macy’s.
But you won’t know any of that, won’t know I had five children with me
and at bedtime they were afraid you might come to our home,
having our address on my license, so we double locked the doors.
I do thank you for the nudge to back up my laptop
which I have needed to do for over a year
and I’ll get a new license picture which is hopefully better than the current one.
I remember curling my hair and wearing a red blouse,
I looked like a substitute teacher, the kind kids like to torture.
You got my IPod, I hope you listen to the song which was queued up,
That I Would Be Good by Alanis Morissette, she sings,
that I would be good if I got a thumbs down,
that I would be good if I got and stayed sick,
that I would be fine even if I was fuming,
that I would be loved even if I was not myself
for you, we could now add, that I would be good, even if I steal things.
I know I shouldn’t have left valuables out in the open
as the men in my life repeatedly asked,
you left your purse where someone could see it?
which reminded me of people insinuating that because a woman
dressed provocatively, she deserved to be raped.
Yes I left it where IF you were prowling around
AND cupped your eyes against my tinted car window,
you MIGHT see the lump of it on the car floor.
Not nearly as easily as I could see the other half dozen cars flanking mine.
We were thankful you didn’t have more time
and left the diet cokes and bags of potato chips in the trunk
that we consumed while waiting for the police car which came without fanfare,
not even bothering a “whoop” of the siren or flick of blue lights,
it was a block party for a bit, other hikers stopping
to nod and politely agree that shit happens before walking on.
All told because our deductibles for theft and repair were high,
I’ll be out almost a thousand dollars to replace the thirty six bucks
you most likely turned into a few moments of euphoria.
I will spend hours ordering new checks,
tracking down accounts linked to my debit and credit cards
and go without my car for a day while the window is fixed,
all which I’d rather not do.
I would also prefer not to write this poem to you.
But I need to say,
even though I have never stolen anything since nail polish in junior high,
I have felt desperate and alone,
that I steal compliments and time and affections.
I often reach for the larger glass, the last piece of chocolate.
Every day I am not my best self, every night
I go to bed wishing I had been more generous.
I pray times get better for us both and I wish opening my wallet
you had some compassion for the life I have cobbled together,
saw the discount punch card for the gymnasium
I drop my kids off at on Saturday nights so I can have a few hours of peace,
the thrift store punch card - times can be hard for me too, buddy.
I wish you felt as I did, when I came upon a wallet on the street last year-
thumbing through the worn leather and business cards,
the gun license, an appointment reminder for an acupuncture treatment,
kinship for a man I would never know.
I hope at least you soothed
your chapped lips with my almost new Burts Bees balm
and most of all, ate the peanut M&M’s.
I had been saving that bag for three days and was so proud of myself.
When we reached the halfway point on the hike,
I remembered the bright yellow package
was even going to share with the kids-
three or four each we’d all get, tops,
but damn, I was looking forward to them.