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Meditation at the County Landfill

All over fat gulls lunge
and swerve to forage in the mounds
of trash, their ruffled wings

and bellies cement gray,
their screeches mixed with dozers’ scraping
groans and the garbage trucks’

harsh grind. The window down,
I breathe a burning mayonnaise smell
that scorches my nose and mouth:

a stink denser than air
and clogged with grit. This place looks
like a field where clumps of garbage

grow, these gloved men breathing through
dust masks its harvesters; “Park over here,”
one in sunglasses shouts

above the wind. I’ve come
to unload a rented house’s junk—
at least ten years of things

that other people left
behind: a television, screen smashed
in to show its metal brain-stem wrapped

in multicolored wires; thick stacks
of mold-sheathed newspapers; 
a roofless dollhouse. “Just dump it

there,” barks a guy in overalls
when I ask what to do with all
this stuff. A quarter-mile away

there’s a precipice: what for?
And then I see far off, a dozer
scooping up compacted 

heaps and hurling them
below: so this is the place
debris is shoveled

underground to rot 
until the end of time
(unless time’s already

ended here). Barehanded, 
I hurl these wet, grimed, 
viscid chunks

of someone else’s life onto
the reeking earth, startled
at the way this ruin 

pleases me: as my sweat mixes
with the rising chalky 
slime, I wade waist-high

through mounds that by
tomorrow will lie shoved
beneath a ground that has 

no choice—it must accept 
this offering. “Keep it coming,
man!” the masked face roars.

© 2010 Silverfish Review Press

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