recycling

before anyone wakes we go out to claim the things that aren’t ours
this rock, this tree, this sidewalk (and also by extension, the packing
foam caught in the upheaval of pavement and the gallon water bottle
that has been on the lawn for days) is mine. this life is also mine.
but the need to delineate can only be contained within its own
little box, and today is paper day so the cardboard boxes get
put out, too. we have heard there is money in collecting other
people’s trash, but don’t bear the heat well in the summers so
that job is out of the question. retreating to an air-conditioned
cubicle, we can only wonder if our lives are really our own.
i take my pills and mix them with groundwater and call it
a tonic. in a state where you wouldn’t find trash within a mile
of a park, a man tells me that they won’t take your pizza box
if it has even a smidge of grease on it, so i wipe the fingerprints
off my heart and hope it won’t be there in the morning.

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