The most unusual thing I ever stole? A snowman.
Midnight. He looked magnificent; a tall, white mute
beneath the winter moon. I wanted him, a mate
with a mind as cold as the slice of ice
within my own brain. I started with the head.
Better off dead than giving in, not taking
what you want. He weighed a ton; his torso,
frozen stiff, hugged to my chest, a fierce chill
piercing my gut. Part of the thrill was knowing
that children would cry in the morning. Life’s tough.
Sometimes I steal things I don’t need. I joy-ride cars
to nowhere, break into houses just to have a look.
I’m a mucky ghost, leave a mess, maybe pinch a
I watched my gloved hand twisting the doorknob.
A stranger’s bedroom. Mirrors. I sigh like this–Aah.
It took some time. Reassembled in the yard,
he didn’t look the same. I took a run
and booted him. Again. Again. My breath ripped out
in rags. It seems daft now. Then I was standing
alone amongst lumps of snow, sick of the world.
Boredom. Mostly I’m so bored I could eat myself.
One time I stole a guitar and thought I might
learn to play. I nicked a bust of Shakespeare once,
flogged it, but the snowman was strangest.
You don’t understand a word I’m saying, do you?
Carol Ann Duffy