One time I imaginary stole
an aging Chinaman’s baby blue sailors hat
outside a duck roasting joint on a
hilly San Francisco sidewalk.
Plastic bags of Asian groceries swayed
left and right as he staggered down the street,
shrinking a little with each step.
From a distance the hat seemed
impossible to remove,
like stealing a smile from a statue.
It was the pivotal piece of his wardrobe,
but I had to have it.
The old man’s face wrinkled inward
at the intrusion of my arm
and he dropped his grocery bags.
He flailed his tiny joints,
pointing and screaming in Mandarin,
but by then his hat was mine.