We want what we can’t have because we can’t.
No intrinsic value in the object but
The fence, the prohibition, threats of pain
And consequences for transgression bless,
Bestow upon the thing that unholy glow
That draws us all like flies, idolators.


The taking not the having is the goal,
The price tag unaffordable the snare.
It’s that and not the object tagged that makes
The fingers itch to snatch, to steal. We scratch
Until there is an open sore, the tag
The only cure. A genius trick. We’re fooled.


It’s the lie of stolen water, secret bread.
It’s the discontented voices in our heads.
It’s the law of Adam’s fruit, Augustine’s pear.
If the sign weren’t there we wouldn’t even care.
Contented godliness is gain, and yet—
I’d rather be a thief than be an heir.


Give us this day our daily bread, and lead
Us to pure streams. In you we shall not want.

(Spring 2016)