Neighborhood Scavengers

In the morning a man hunched over
in a recycling bin jerks his head around
in three different directions, snatching

three cans in quick succession as
he tosses them consecutively over
alternating shoulders into the garbage
bag in the cart behind him with the arc
of dirt clods scraped up by the dog.

A squirrel scampers by, his tail waving

toodle loo, with a fistful of leaves

clamped between his teeth. It stops,
tilts its head rapidly right, then left,
then right again like a jaywalker
crossing traffic and then darts up
the tree to his left, a convict going
up a fence.

After dark, a garage door opens to
reveal a light flicking on. A woman
stands outside the house door
inside of the garage in front of

a running car hands on her hips

she shouts “Where the fuck are you going?”
“Where the FUCK do you think
you’re going?” Her “fuck” rings
out like a bark in the night.

I’m on the curb looking
at my phone but I sit
straight up suddenly
like a startled raccoon
by the dumpster.

She punts the front bumper
of the car in her garage
then turns and jerks her arm
suddenly at the button
on the wall like a cat trapping
a mouse in her paw. The automatic

garage door slowly and mechanically
closes, before the car can pull out
safely, until even the light inside
stops escaping.

I pull my rolling tote behind me
with a gloved hand and walk on,
thinking about what groceries I will
purchase to put in my cabinets
for cold days like these.

At the store, the man with the cart

full of cans pushes them into a machine

outside in the dark

one at a time.






Filed under Poetry

2 responses to “Neighborhood Scavengers

  1. Watt deFalk

    Everything in motion, traced trajectory, hunting, scavenging, the beast within the human heart, the man & woman’s dying relationship, reality (including the need to eat) intruding into our cell-phone obsessions, best we can do is to stock up to survive the cold. Maybe I’m off-base but that’s the way this one moved me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your reactions and insights Watt deFalk (haha). Yes, the naturalness of scavenging: for food, for money, for connection. And how it relates to getting through the winter. The primary intention of the cell phone image is to maybe make the reader think about how we might be using our cell phones as a way of scavenging…. but for what? There are a lot of answers to that… 🙂 Thank you again for your comments


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