The proprietor apologized profusely
in carefully crafted expressions
of shock and outrage
that blended with a bland babbling
about reassurances of restitution.
His home health aide
had “borrowed” the Pathfinder
she was permitted to drive…
only when her passenger was present.
Upon her morning arrival,
this caregiver was confronted
by the one she betrayed.
“Why? Paulie, Why?”
“…Because I needed it!”
Once she wailed those words,
she knew her defense was defective:
“The Law” is only loyal to ownership; never need.
So, prior to the police’s arrival, Pauline
ran passed her patient, fleeing on foot
to become a fugitive from justice, somewhere
on Florida’s sunshine-stained sidewalks.
A somber Pauline soon surrendered,
but we chose not to charge
the former chauffer and friend
who had freed our mother
from the stuffy confines of her facility.
Released from incarceration,
without a “record,” she was spared
the modern-day Scarlet Letter,
the label of “felon.”
I wondered, how often is society’s populace
impacted by these “property crimes”
committed by working people
who don’t earn enough to have their own?
And so, they do without
until they descend into the desperation
that desecrates decency.
I don’t detract
from the deeds of her delinquency
when I react
that her boss was an accessory-before-the-fact.
At the apex of the corporate pyramid,
the powerful preside over profits,
feasting on their fill of fruit
from the proverbial pie
while denying a nicely-sized slice
to their underlings who labored to bake it.
Is there a point where proprietors,
like Pauline’s employer,
possess a moral and social responsibility
to sufficiently compensate their employees
so they earn enough to have their own?
E.V. “Beth” Wyler grew up in Elmont, NY. At 43 she obtained her associate’s degree from Bergen Community College. She and her husband, Richard, share their empty nest with 3 cats and a beta fish. E. V. Wyler’s poems have been featured in The Storyteller, WestWard Quarterly, Feelings of the Heart, Nuthouse, The Pine Times, The Pink Chameleon, The Rotary Dial, Vox Poetica, and on The Society of Classical Poets’ website.