Is it a crime to palm a bus pass

fallen to the ground from a child’s pocket

seconds after it lands?


Is it a crime to ignore the mother

who beseeches her eight-year-old daughter,

Where did you leave it?


You know it rests snug between

your thumb and smartphone

innocently, concealed, in plain view.


Is it a crime to say nothing when

it is snatched from your hand

by that same mother?


She will say nothing.

Yes, you had her down as a submissive

because of her hijab.


Just as you planned.


Theft is without guilt

when you pick on an outsider.


Sure, you profess innocence

but there are no apologies.

You don’t think she merits it.


And she gets on the bus

And no-one speaks to her.

And the world moves on.


Is it a crime

though hand and pocket

never met?


Well, is it?


2 thoughts on “Pickpocket

  1. Like this piece of writing and the questions it asks, questions which need no answer but which get you thinking. How true this observation on the suffering of the outsider, the other. This happens more than we ever know, a lot of us “turning a blind eye” to discrimination, shame.

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