Today's poem is by Carolyne Wright

"Mania Klepto"

Eulene never comes to shoplift
but to leave things--
rhinestone butterflies she borrowed
from her mother's casket of vanities;
her father's moldering, Bolshevik cigars;
her brother's manic metronome
that ticks in its box
like the crocodile in Peter Pan.

She has to be discreet and furtive
as a Gideon Bible placement clerk,
dart her hand out when the eyes
in the back of the store detective's
head blink. She places each object
so it says, "I've always been here,"
and blends into the merchandise
like a wallflower.

                                              Petty generosity
made up the family litany,
dinned so long in her ear
she never could forget it,
even between birthdays.
She's spent years trying
to be normal--a taker of tickets
and free rides, the gifts and creatures
of sucker friends' philanthropy.

she knows better, the mania so familiar
it's conviction. She goes through the motions
like a master evangelist, breaking

into fertile grounds for quick drops
and quicker getaways, subtle Appleseeder
of an excess of possessions. How else
could anyone receive them?

Eulene no longer questions, merely smiles
at the racks of garments, the thin
bored women who assess them.
She deposits the last tatter
she's smuggled in, calm-faced
and professional as a mannequin.

The dressing room corridor turns
into a Valhalla of mirrors,
and Eulene—Dame Quixote armed only
with a bare, bent hanger—
finally contends with the grim
glass-multiplied reflections.

Copyright © 2011 Carolyne Wright All rights reserved
from Mania Klepto: The Book of Eulene
Turning Point Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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