“the city tends to alternately gleam…”

by Jack Boettcher

The place where we stack, bury or decorate our trash is a place of unnatural physical freedom. There you can run at top speeds and for great distances, with almost no hesitance. There the ground shudders often, footed and soft, and a plume of particulate rises, color of iron oxide over sunset.

You can bury your trash in the mountain’s sternum or you can burn your trash in a pyre of relief. I’ll be in the foothills reading a tabloid magazine, purselip of shade lapping closer into evening, apparition of smoke from a hill.

The streetsweepers agree; the city tends to alternately gleam or rust. Beyond its limits – sun rot and wet heap – and there’s also the myth of how natural water may ferment into beer and back under biblical or apocalyptic conditions, just ask your local janitor, or in the valley of a mountain of trash, or in a piney canyon studded with the flattened reflective bones of appliances and the tarpskins of nomads and numberless other stringalongs and unrecognizable marginalia…

Jack Boettcher lives in Mississippi. Excerpts from this project appear in horse less review #4.