Prophet on an Empty Stomach

"I swiped it from a bar,"
she says, passing me the book.
A gift from someone who gets me.
I fan through the pages
like women wipe
and notice that one's missing.
The black wool coat
I've had for thirteen years
carries the novel
for the rest of our gin-fueled evening.
That knife I thought I'd lost
is discovered in a pocket.
More triumph on a small scale.
More belated redemption.

The next day
with my bank card forgotten
in the register where we left ourselves
I wonder if that page was so poignant
that someone had to steal it;
if I should buy another copy
or fill in my own blanks;
if it's time that I stop finding fault
in open books before me.

I pry the blinds apart
enough to peer outside.
It's unseasonably warm for February.
There's still no pity
for the village idiot
or men who've scuttled seaworthy ships
screaming of scripture and Socrates.

I decide against wearing pants yet.

Currently reading:
"Illuminations" by Arthur Rimbaud.

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