by Michael Camden
The padlock slackens
rats could scatter at the sound
across the asphalt,
banging of dumpsters blackened by trees.
Night for swimming in plastic
Beams from flashlights clenched in our teeth
cut the orange glow–
our fingers break the tension of packaged food.
Food wrapped in plastic
Food wrapped in slime
now streaked across our jeans and noses
slime to bunch the filmy wrappers
skinned off moon pies into awkward hunches
on our dashboard and counter.
We lay fingers on ears of corn clutched by the bagful
stacks of cheeses
chanced upon sacks of breads
peppered with heads of lettuce
all bagged, light toeing the wrinkles
stretched across its surface.
Across the asphalt
dumpsters bang, blackened by hills
of bags slung over our shoulders.
We count each street lamp arcing the sky
against the blue flickering corners of rooms
balls of sweat on our cheeks
streaks of slime across our noses
the smell of food laid across the tile.
From room, from stairway
setting down phones and combs
turning away from their computers–
Dwellers emerge to circle the mound:
what she likes, she keeps.
What is reconsidered under the kitchen light
What has too much of the garbage grease
What is a pie too many to stack in the fridge
is left, bagged, for raccoons or worms to eat.
Michael Camden lives near Philadelphia, where he has featured and read at open mics. He studied literature at Boston University. His work appears in MOLT Journal and Amethyst Arsenic. In September he will begin graduate school in teaching and literature at University of Massachusetts Boston. He is currently writing a novel.