Thief

Paul David Adkins


I am victimized every time 
a senator lauds our service.
His account fattens  
like a pig before Christmas.

He claimed 4H during Vietnam.
He went to college.
His work was important.
I know

he is that ram
that tore the fence
to tup my ewe 
and know I pegged him dead

to rights, jimmying 
my gas cap one night 
with a screwdriver,
plumbing the tank with a hose.

His loafer soles 
trample the peonies 
beneath my bathroom window.
His prints smudge the glass.

His palms squeegee the steam.
When I emerge, he’s breathless.
He slinks, a sated cat.
He bawls like a tilted doll at soldiers’ funerals.

He’s the snooping landlord 
armed with a key,
the cop who walks the drunk girl 
home, and enters.

A thief, 

he swipes my laptop,
leaves behind a dust-less, laptop-shaped 
rectangle on the desk,
a tangle of cords and a dead mouse.

On the dining table,
his tapered turds curl,
sloughed as bouquet petals


Adkins Photograpgh.jpg

Paul David Adkins lives in New York. In 2018, Lit Riot published his collection Dispatches from the FOB. Journal publications include PleiadesRiver StyxRattleDiodeBaltimore ReviewCrab Creek and Whiskey Island. He has received five Pushcart nominations and two finalist nominations from the Central NY Book Awards. The poetry in Collateral pertains to a sense of disillusionment the author felt after touring Iraq three times and Afghanistan once. As they say in Quebec, "Je me souviens."