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Scrap-Metal Collector

by Maureen Tolman Flannery

  • The sides of his truck extend toward heaven
  • in this scaffold of Babel constructed of scrap.
  • A broken clothes dryer on the bottom
  • speaks a language of desert wind;
  • bent window fans whisper sea breeze.
  • In the idiom of old cash register bells
  • the bottom line is expounded
  • by a dented gray office desk.
  • Bike frames wedged at the edges say mobility,
  • above the arrested speed, haltingly uttered
  • by a Corvette bumper and miss-matched hub-caps.
  • A tangle of copper tubing hisses in sibilant tongues
  • at hunks of rusted sewer pipe
  • turning back in circumlocution.
  • Cacophonous nut-and-bolt chatter
  • clangs against heavy accents of old chrome,
  • obscures dialects of cast iron.
  • Everything expounds on the memory
  • of having been differently used.
  • Javier and his son drive these dying languages
  • through alleys and back-lots around the city
  • piling them higher and higher,
  • never quite able to climb into paradise.


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