13.2.12

Sidewalk Poetry #20

The Trashpickers, Madison Street

On the edge of dawn’s pale eye,
the trashpickers are lifting the lid of every can,
poking inside with bent hanger and stick.
They murmur in a language soft as rags.
What have we here?
Their colorless overcoats drift and grow wings.

They pull a creaking wagon, tinfoil wads, knotted string,
to the cave where sacraments of usefulness are performed.
Kneel to the triple weddings of an old nail.
Rejoice in the rebirth of envelopes.
The crooked skillet finds its first kingdom
on a shelf where nothing is new.

They dream small dreams, furry ones,
a swatch of velvet passed hand-to-hand.
Their hearts are compasses fixed to the ground
and their love, more like moss than like fire.


[Trash pickers in Mexico City.]

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