Our home got stuck in a trash collector

Pull the spare mattress from under my parents’ bed
comforter under my arm. Leave it. Retrieve
my pillows and Can you try sleeping in your bed?

Could insist I have been, dreamt I died
everyone I love died, and I saw it all
from within the devourer’s maw.

Moments to convince them. Lie down.
Say nothing. They relent but I imagine
them and the trash collector dream of clear floors.

Our home got stuck in the head of a trash collector.
Dream-possible, we are ever up the road.
We march out with stuff and in and out again.

He raps on the truck to signal it forward.
We come with hardwood. We come with gift bags.
The cab necks ahead but the trailer extends as an angler’s jaw.

We shovel up from the cellar. Neighbours sneak more.
Junk mail carriers and paperboys are routed here.
Milkmen resurrect to soak it all.

Butcher pulls up and gestures, “Hey you
—I’m a kill you when you’re here.


This one was the product of two possible prompts: helplessness, and the coziest memory I have. Thanks as always to my parter Kate Maxfield for making me think.

You don’t steer a train




Because your baby is a hummingbird your hands are camcorder. In the nursery you study them: one reads REC, the other today’s date 16/04/10. Your son won’t stop announcing ballgames, and the players keep updating their wills. The call goes to machine: It’s your mother; she dug another feeder from the attic.




A couple of wheelbarrow approach with their toddling luggage. They tip their trays and spill a little recognition. You and your partners’ pull-tab noses grin apart your Frisky tin lips. As your child flutters from mouth to mouth, theirs springs its handle and screams out its flight tags, “I wanna go in the trunk! I wanna be packed forever!” The baby-book cools in the fridge.




Again, you pace towards the window. The fish chum stains paint a trail towards the crumpling society of ants. You remember.