The Dump

In the olden days Grandpa used to
Take me to the dump
We had only dumps back then
No Sanitary Landfills

The dump stunk of dead animals and rotting food
It was afire and never stopped smoldering
When Grandpa threw trash barrels
Off the back of the truck
Rats ran around on every side

There were treasures in the dump, too
Old wheels broken dishes
Nests of tangled bailing wire
Mason jars full of rotted preserves
Once even there was a rusty coaster wagon
With only one wheel missing and
A not too big hole in the bottom

The dump told stories about everybody in town
Some of the stories I knew; some I wished I didn’t
About too many shattered whiskey bottles
And pots that’d been flung across
The kitchen in anger on Saturday night and
Couldn’t be fixed

I looked at it all and then
I stood on the tailgate and
Threw stones gloriously
At the rats and they all
Scattered and fled down, down into
The furnaces of Hell

—From Alchemy of Willows

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