Ode to a Dumpster-Diver
by George Henson

    You drive,
    then dive,
    hoping to find
    treasure troves
    of discarded trinkets,
    among heaping mounds
    of melancholy trash,
    evidence of wasteful,
    cluttered lives
    simplified
    by Hefty bags.
    Digging,
    sifting,
    sometimes coughing,
    always seeking
    beautiful booty
    among swarming flies,
    you're a 21st-century
    urban anthropologist
    with an exacting eye,
    a steady hand
    and a can of Off
    as your only friend.
    Blinking,
    sweating,
    you breathe
    toxic fumes
    of cat piss
    and pickle juice
    with undertones
    of Eternity by Calvin Klein.
    Amidst a delicate bouquet
    of Aqua Velva,
    and Aqua Net,
    you step over
    yesterday's leftovers,
    broken toilet seats,
    and coffee grounds
    You beam
    as you encounter
    designer labels,
    last-year's Versace
    and Prada
    and a pile
    of other lesser names.
    (Even in the garbage can classicism still reigns.)
    You bend,
    kick,
    sort,
    band squint;
    you rifle
    through shopping bags
    and handbags,
    stopping only
    to peruse
    a tome
    of Neruda's
    Elemental Odes.
    You search
    and search
    until you meet
    your daily quota.
    As darkness falls,
    and your vision fades,
    you load
    your burgundy
    Land Cruiser,
    and drive
    home
    to inventory
    your find.






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