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Police Recover Stash of Stolen Items
A poem written on the occasion of encountering an online news article featuring a close relative.
This poem originally appeared in Newtown Literary 13, Fall/Winter 2018.
The face is the biggest shock after the name— your name, almost. The face you knew from childhood, mischievous, wry, handsome, now stony as battered granite, the young features punched up and pounded like wet clay then fired hard in a thousand-degree kiln. The face discovered with “burglary tools, methamphetamine and more than 100 stolen items belonging to more than 30 people.” The face leaps out from the article from fifteen hundred miles away, like a fugitive in a game of hide-and-go-seek, flushed out from the shadows of the chicken coop when you’d forgotten you were even playing, racing to make it home free. What could you have done? Returned more of his phone calls? At some point you knew, somewhere in those twenty years of rob arrest repeat, you had to keep your distance. He was your cousin. It wasn’t like he was your brother. But you weren’t there yet at that first apartment where you lived on your own, when you locked your keys inside, when that confident, capable face you'd known from infancy said, “I'll get in.” And did. And you thought that was so cool. ∅