Spring 1984 • Vol. VI No. 2 A Gathering of Poems |

At the Town Dump

Sometimes I nod to my neighbor, as he flings lath and plaster or cleared brush on the swelling pile. Talk is impossible; the dozer shudders toward us, flattening everything in its path. Last March I got stuck in the mud. Archie Portigue was there, thin from the cancer that would kill him, with his yellow pickup, its sides akimbo from many loads. Archie pushed as I rocked the car; the clutch smelled hot; then with infallible timing he jumped on the fender. … Saved, I saw his small body in the rearview mirror get smaller as he waved. A boy pokes with a stick at a burnt-out sofa cushion. … He brings the insides out with clear delight. Near where I stand the toe of a boot protrudes from the sand. Today I brought the bug-perforated remains of my garden. A single ripe tomato—last fruit, immaculate—evaded harvest, and dangles from a vine. I offer it to oblivion with the rest of what was mine.

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