Petty Crime

by Judie Rae

I steal flowers:
This compulsion to act
is not harmless.
I am responsible
for denuding entire neighborhoods,
I've had to switch jogging routes
until the land recovers.
Acres of lilacs have been lost
to my hand.

I can't help it.
I'm in relationships.
Crocus call to me.
Roses shout my name.

No flasher flashing
has ever felt so exposed
or so guilty
as that moment when I lean down
to liberate
flower from stem.

No robber robbing
has ever felt so vindicated
or so vainglorious
as that moment when I
bouquet my bounty,
and the ranunculus, the anemones
wave curly heads,
bow every so slightly
to thank me
for saving them
from frost, fumes, felines
and the unrelenting possibility
of death
by dog piss.

Fool she
who amasses splendor
in greedy fists
what cannot be owed--
a beauty thief.

justification of pretty crime
is easy
when the prize
is one
tulip smile.

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