Stuart Dischell

The Laugh of the Thief

There was a tumbleweed

Behind the house whispering

To his tall friend the cactus

About blue scat the wild dog made

About an hour after he ate

The child’s play doh rabbit,

Salty from her hands and the chemicals

Its color and texture were composed of–


And while the pair in the moonlight chortled,

The wild dog in the tall grass

Recounted to himself how the day

Began not badly, an overturned

Trash can by the rest stop,

A dove with a broken wing,

Slow lizards at noon, a windfall

Of chicken bones in a bag at dusk.

And maybe later in the half harvested field

Rats in the furrows when he felt better.




“The Laugh of the Thief” is from Backwards Days (Penguin, October 2007).