Thieves’ Guilt

my love,
we live
in a den full of thieves

each of us
pilfering and pinching,
one from the other,
back and forth
and around again
in a merry-go-round heist

our children
plucking the hours
from our pockets
and the sleep from our beds,
the heat from our meals
and our drinks
and our kisses —

not that it keeps us
from stealing them anyway

after all,
you and I
are just as guilty as they:
every breathing moment
an ill-gotten prize,
an impossible debt
we never intended to pay

our guilt
evidenced
in the tipping of toes
and whispers in the dark,
in quiet tears
and the protests
of little voices

every moment we call
ours
is one taken from
them
every second I claim
mine
means one less for
you

these very words
counted and hoarded,
concealed around a corner
while the authorities
call my name

they are written
with borrowed minutes,
a fleeting currency
that dissolves
before it can ever be
repaid

we live
in a den full of thieves,
my love,

and I fear
taking more
than I’ve
lost

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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