The Only Story I Know

Richard Garcia

I stole another woman’s only scarf.

A man bought me some steak and I thought I

would let him, at least only

this once. I borrowed, OK, I stole

my husband’s poems written in a woman’s

voice, and intended, not for me, but another.

I stole my name, but that’s another

story. I stole a pumpkin pie and scarfed

it up in my car while reading his poems in a woman’s

voice, apparently by his other self as he says, “Not I.”

But how strange that these poems he stole

were written by me, yes, myself only.

My husband could purloin my poems only

because I had not written them yet. Another

thing, let me tell you, this soul stealer stole—

Some of my best dreams, my memories, a scarf,

my joie de vivre, my very being and my glass eye.

So can you blame me if I stole another woman’s

scarf another woman’s scarf another woman’s…

In it I was transformed into this beautiful one-and-only.

Even now I do not believe it, that I

could become someone else, yes another,

even my husband’s mistress, she of the stolen scarf.

Since he could steal even unwritten poems I also stole.

I stole his lover’s identity, I stole and stole,

her teeth her smile her wedding ring all that woman’s

bras, panties, hankies, her expensive scarf,

supposedly her one scarf, her only,

and I took one last thing from her, another

scarf. For if someone knows a lie, it is I.







This is the only story I know. A cold night, a woman’s

garment. Supposedly that I stole. But I only

wanted to be another. My husband’s lover with the lovely scarf.


Richard Garcia is the author of Rancho Notorious and The Persistence of Objects, from BOA Editions. His poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, Ploughshares, and Best American Poetry. He lives in Charleston, SC, and teaches at the Antioch MFA in Creative Writing in Los Angeles. These poems are from the manuscript of his next book, The Other Odyssey, due out this fall from Dream Horse Press.