[Piazza d’Italia by Giorgio de Chirico, 1913]
She wears great big clonky boots.
She’s all zipped up in a filthy orange suit.
Shoulder-length blond hair blowing in the air.
She loves riding on the back of that truck!
That’s all the fun of it for her. Jumping up,
getting just the right bend
of her knees, letting go
with one hand, waving to the driver
Head on, lets go!
You watch her
Swinging out as it lurches forward and edges to the curb
again. Flipping off the tops, some plastic, some metal, some leaving
them strewn across the grass, across the sidewalk, heaving up
a stuffed can, lurching to the back of the truck, stuffing it, watching
the cascade of labels, paper plates and chicken
carcasses, envelopes and magazines, junk mail, coupons, paper bags and
wadded tissues, ketchup bottles bleeding at the top, spaghetti
and fried chicken boxes, TV dinners (gravy, mashed potatoes,) twinkie
wrappers, coke cans, cheez whiz and soggy
cheerios flly out with the milk.
All the stuff that doesn’t matter
Thrown off, tossed down, dumped in.
She does this for you
What’s it like?
she jumps on the back of the truck. See, both feet
land on this metal platform, you know, the serrated kind?
Sort of bumpy for good traction?
Well, she jumps on there in her cleated boots and boy
she knows she’s Steady. She grabs hold of that bar
with her right hand and hangs out wide
to the side. Dogs come chasin’, boy, do they!
Nippin’ at her heels and she yells Scram!
Get outa here mutts! They don’t come back!
When she looks back
one of ’ems got his whole head in that can!
You stand in her wake,
a wet reek of dank
And so you are pure, left behind
on the sidewalk amid empty cans
rid of the history of your week,
She will burn it.
It will burn.