Monday, August 12, 2013

Elisa Albo


The teacher walks into class empty
handed—someone has stolen her
poetry textbook. Who would steal
a student who works

as a security guard asks. His
classmates snicker to concur,
yea. She seizes the pedagogical
moment, opens the question

to discussion. Perhaps someone
who is starving
, whispers a reed-
thin student who waits tables
at a nude bar, someone who

needs bread, meat, or a sugar
rush. A woman who is desperate
pipes in the housewife
whose husband has left her.

She might need cash, attention,
the kind of meaning only
a desperate act will reveal.
A man who is used to stealing,

says the former gang member,
who has itchy fingers, a habit
of taking, but the usual stereos,
cars, jewelry have lost their appeal.

Perhaps he's realized he's not
as materialistic as he thought
he was,
says the woman who
shops at Saks and Bloomingdale's.

This thief wants to improve himself,
enrich his life,
a religious student
adds, acquire a few metaphors,
add paradox, a little form and

complexity to the daily routine.

They nod. This thief is not above
an apt turn of phrase, an ambiguous
line break. Perhaps he's a modern

day Robin Hood—stealing poetry
from the rich, giving it to the poor.
The students open their books
and share their poems with her.

Elisa reads "Stealing Poetry":

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Elisa confesses: "Years ago in my college creative writing class, I mentioned someone had stolen my book. A couple of the dozen students—a varied group in age, profession, writing ability—found that hilarious, which got me thinking about them, why people steal, and what if a thief did steal for the poetry?"

ELISA ALBO is the author of a poetry chapbook, Passage to America. Born in Havana and raised in central Florida, her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies such as Alimentum, Bomb, Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Stream Magazine, InterLitQ, Irrepressible Appetites, MiPoesias, The Potomac Journal, and Tigertail: A South Florida Annual. She recently completed To Sweeten the Flesh, a collection of food poems. She received an MFA from Florida International University and teaches English and ESL at Broward College. She lives with her husband and daughters in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

1 comment:

Charles Rammelkamp said...

What a terrific poem - thought/thought-provoking, witty.