One Man’s Garbage...
I spent my college summers hanging off the back
off a garbage truck partnered with an old timer
who didn’t mind the work and loved the perks.
Through the flies and stench, like an ancient seer
pondering the entrails of fallen eagles searching
for omens, my fellow G-man eyed the contents
of each hefted can or plastic bag torn open
by compacting jaws. He spent his day cursing
the inventor of disposable diapers, and rescuing
clothes that still had wear. He counted beer
and whiskey empties, noting types and brands.
He read the labels of empty prescription drug
containers, giving each one a shake just in case.
He gave dramatic readings of perfumed love letters,
the best of which he said were always authored
in illicit trysts. He kept an eye out for the magazines
that most married men hid in their bedroom drawers.
He believed that perfection, even the airbrushed kind,
should not be discarded. His collection grew daily.
He told me G-men are the anti-Claus; we don’t bring
them presents; we just haul their crap away.
He let slip a grin that hinted at a soiled omniscience
as he kept his list of what everyone valued least.
Alan Berecka is a librarian who lives near Corpus Christi, Texas. His poetry has been published various outlets including the Christian Century, Ruminate, The Blue Rock Review and Right Hand Pointing. He has authored two collections of poetry: The Comic Flaw (NeoNuma Arts, 2009) and Remembering the Body (Mongrel Empire Press, 2011). For those interested in more information about the poet and his work, check out www.alanberecka.com