The Sugar Thief

If it was free, you taught, I ought to grab it
as you did: McDonald’s napkins, pens,
and from the school where you were once employed
as one of two night shift custodians,
the metal imitation wood wastebasket
still under my desk. But it was sugar
that you took most often as, annoyed
on leaving Dunkin’ Donuts, pancake house,
and countless diners, I felt implicated
in your pleasure, crime, and poverty.
I have them still, your Ziploc bags of plunder,
yet I find today, among the loose
change in my pockets, packets crushed or faded—
more proof of your lasting legacy.

Poem copyright ©2010 by Ned Balbo, “The Sugar Thief,” from The Trials of Edgar Poe and Other Poems, (Story Line Press, 2010). Poem reprinted by permission of Ned Balbo and the publisher.
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