trash man

trash man, heart a tin can gutted,

raw metal, rust, label worn to brittle, yellowed

stomach stuffed with straw and shrunken sweaters,

social justice flyers, partially crushed packages

of spicy shrimp ramen noodles, expired;

he blows, rolls, through streets wet with melting snow;

this is spring, now; jump: he jumps, he catwalks a precipice,

whistling; his feet still human enough to hurt,

to swell in boots that God said to give to the less fortunate;

he is fortunate, lucky you know, to be alive, and grateful;

grateful is a 6 am plate of fried eggs, a roll of quarters,

a pull of cigarette smoke; worms line the bones of his

pelvis which are still bone, still hip that carried

the child that walks beside him in the snow,

still a womb wrapped in church bank clothing

that bore a human into being: what bliss

and weight, the child in the snow, hungry;

they walk from place to place, too tired to cry;

social agreements have determined that

their tears are props, paper drops stuck

with spit and bits of tape to their faces,

faces like styrofoam cups or smears of oil:

so much a part of the asphalt underfoot

that no one looks as they step

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