Were garbage collection an Olympic sport,

my neighborhood’s  crew would medal for sure.

The rev, squeal, swoosh, crash, repeat

of the team vehicle announces

the commencement of their best event,

the dumpster-tossing competition.

As the truck screeches toward a halt,

the star athletes, all Latino,

leap from their starting positions on the sides,

run  figure-eights in the street,

looking, in their neon-yellow jerseys,

like tennis balls bouncing from

a newly opened can, and then

they shoot off toward the curbs,

firmly grasp and lift the wheelie-bins–

that takes some muscle, the large ones

heavy enough even when empty–

running with them to the truck,

dumping the contents, yanking the lever,

half-throwing the dumpsters back toward lawns

as the truck starts rolling forward,

and they sprint to jump aboard.


Copyright 2014

T. Allen Culpepper


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