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Sunday, September 23, 2018


by Sean Kelbley

BOLIVAR, Ohio (AP) — Authorities in eastern Ohio say a grocery store employee has been charged with felony theft for helping herself to deli ham for years. Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Hale tells The Columbus Dispatch that an eight-year employee of regional grocery chain Giant Eagle was charged Friday with stealing food estimated by the store to be worth $9,200. The store’s loss prevention manager received a tip that an employee had been eating three to five slices of ham nearly every day over eight years. Authorities say she also sometimes ate salami. —AP via TV10, September 10, 2018

Bolivar (Ohio) rhymes with Oliver!
As in “Please Sir, I want some more.”
Not that she asked. None of us does.
It’s always worked: a pound of ham for you,
a slice for me. $9000 worth of meat

seems like a lot, but calculate the cost
of all the paperclips and pens and Post-It
pads you’ve carried home. Or think of
Government. It’s never just about the
ham. She kept parking in somebody’s
special spot, or got too many weekends
off, or got the ten-cent hourly raise, or stole
a man. Somebody told. Was it the one

who helps herself to bulk nut overweighs?
The one who picks off “spoiled” shrimp?
I’m sorry, we’re like you. How we pretend
to look the other way. How we keep score.
How we watch little things add up until
they’re big enough to use.

Sean Kelbley lives in southeastern Ohio, where he works as an elementary school counselor. His work appears in Crab Creek Review,  and online at Poets Reading the News, Rise Up Review (2017 Best of the Net nomination), and Tuck Magazine. He does not endorse employee theft. He dislikes hypocrisy.