Conspiracy to Commit Larceny: A Recipe  
 
 
Take the man you think you love and his 
fabulous lips. Take him from one place 
to the next. Let him drive your car. Let him 
drive it through the mood-crazed woods 
until it overheats. Let the nights feed 
from your eyes as you look at him. Do 
not turn on the heat. Do not spill 
the flavored oils of the heart. Do not 
eat from the palm of your hand 
a fluid ounce of what you may need. 
Do something illegal. You only have to be 
there when they bring the contraband in. 
You only have to leave yourself behind. 
The stars know. The police will prowl 
your neighborhood until the plate number 
matches and the car checks out. 
When they bring you in, you 
must remove your shoes and belt. 
You must pretend there was no felony. 
Then you must confess. Add your past, 
a pinch of the rage you feel, and how 
you sit until your father bursts in 
and asks whether you have been arrested. 
Add a mother who tells you she is 
ashamed. An expensive lawyer. The way 
you remember the taste of his kiss and 
how real he was and how he would 
drive dark roads at high speeds through 
the back woods with the headlights off. 
Remember what the stars see. And how 
once it is over the lawyer will send 
a letter saying he said you knew nothing, 
saying he tried to keep you out of it, 
though the police said he had given 
you up as they made you say his name.

 

  

 

Copyright � 2013 by Jennifer Militello. Used with permission of the author.  

About This Poem
"When I was eighteen, I was arrested for a crime I didn't know I had committed. The result is a poem about risk, and about the complications that come with being young. The experience ended up folded into a recipe for falling in love with someone dangerous and then having your innocence be even more dangerous to them.
 

--Jennifer Militello

Most Recent Book by Militello

(Tupelo Press, 2013)

 

August 12, 2013

Jennifer Militello's second and most recent book of poems is Body Thesaurus (Tupelo Press, 2013). Militello is the founding director of the creative writing program at River Valley Community College. She lives in Goffstown, New Hampshire.

Militello will be reading tomorrow night at the New York Public Library as part of the Academy's Summer Reading Series.
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