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January 26, 2011

Literary LEO 2011

SOMETHING DIFFERENT — HONORABLE MENTION

Big Bill’s Metal Recycling

BY GAIL CHANDLER

 

Under New Management

This Property Recorded

By 24 Hr. VIDEO Cameras

 

After the sign and stacks of batteries and hubcaps

we gaze at oxidized motors, corrugated roof sections

gutters, dryer vent hoses, a hospital trash can, springs

two plaid sofa cushions, a yellow bush hog balanced

on rolls of fencing, a seat from an ancient hay rake

an upside down rusted Radio Flyer with no wheels

a mottled 1965 sedan with a bumper sticker

Miners do it in the Dark.

 

A muddy road curves between twenty foot barricades

of rusted axles, folding chairs, galvanized pipe

a train car, refrigerator racks and bed rails.

The mounds might be a set for Les Miserable.

 

A man with gray fly-away hair, knee brace

over his jeans, Dale Earnhardt tee, red flames

embossed on a blue cap, dismounts a rig

with a swinging industrial magnet.

This is some nasty work, he says.

Yesterday, they was a bad smell coming

from a busted-up trailer. I opened the door

and three rotted copperheads rolled out.

I wondered how many more

but didn’t go inside to find out.

 

He looks up at the corroded mountain

and wags his head. Things goes bad.

Sometimes you just gotta get rid of’em.

 

We got $109.35 and a scratch

on the side of our shiny red pickup.