When we were young we were always stealing,
perhaps because we knew instinctively that our youth
was being stolen from us,
bit by bit,
day by day,
in a home where the light never made it through.
We started with penny candy,
then squirt guns, gloves and athletic socks,
mostly practical things,
some essential to adolescence
and others to well-being.
By the time we fled our house
and the jackals
we’d become expert thieves,
really wonderful liars.
We smiled and told people how happy we were
while picking their pockets.
The problem is you can’t go back
what muscle memory has sewn into you.
At least that’s what I tell myself
alone at night,
lying on a bunk
in a ten-by-ten cell,
listening to the faucet drip
and drip and drip.
Len Kuntz is an writer from Washington State and the author of the story collection, The Dark Sunshine, from Connotation Press. Additionally, he’s an editor at the online lit zine Literary Orphans. You can find him at http://lenkuntz.blogspot.com.