What Hennessey Stole

If you count the taco meat
– and there was lots of extra
taco meat –
even after they’d placed
the tiny food scale,
white with a silver
top and a red indicator needle,
on the disinfected counter
and made her
weigh the tacos
she purposely(!) made
the tacos too
So first
there was taco meat.

Then mostly candy
or other small food items.
Milk chocolate bars
three for a dollar,
pixie sticks that burned
her throat
when she swallowed
or Dinty Moore microwave
meals, turkey, potatoes
and gravy but only when
she was very hungry.
Most of the time
she bought it
for fear of the security
guard who would ask
her do you dance
for your boyfriend honey? Show me
how your boyfriend
likes to watch
you dance do you dance
for him
with your clothes off?

But then there was money.
She’d had no idea
until the boy
(he’d slipped up behind her in the aisle
where she marking down
shirts with a wax pen
on the tag and whispered
onto her
and it made
her heart
taught her how to
hit no sale.
It was easy
When the customers
didn’t speak English.
A couch. Fifty dollars.
A box of diapers. Thirty-four dollars.
A pile of clothes. Forty dollars.
So probably around
five hundred dollars
in all.
And the boy’s heart.
And it was all justified
because the owner
was a volunteer cop.

The next place,
A proto pipe and many
many boxes of
Ramses II with sweetened
filters and then after
the dope
and the booze
and the coke
and the booze
and the dope
and the dope
and the dope
just plain Marlboro
filtered Reds.

Then just
a mop
and not entirely
on purpose.

Followed by some bowls and unmatched
silverware, clothes if they count
from the lost and found,
some gloves and some mittens
and four heavy metal
trays to put food in
for novelty
for the kids.

And that’s what Hennessey stole.

Each time
making a promise
to no one
that if she
get caught
she would never
steal anything

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