Picking up trash

by Luke Otley

I watched a documentary on my phone
about Chernobyl.
Wow-
I thought to myself-
Europe a waste
and I wasn’t even born.
I turned over and went to sleep,
I had horrible nightmares
about my car being caught
in sludge,
I was pulled from the broken window
and thrown off
a cliff-side turn
by an unknown assailant.

The next day
I tried my best
to wipe the oily
remains of last night’s fear
from my face
in the rear-view mirror.
I was breaking out again.

I don’t think too much about the end.
I squint at safety,
I accept that it is an illusion
in the same way I accept
that one day
I’ll have to bury my parents.
But I do make sure
my doors are locked at night.

That afternoon
I was picking up trash from the roadside:
beer bottles, soda cans, soda boxes,
newspapers, toilet papers.
One tin can was deep bark brown
with rust. I let him stay.

I read somewhere that if we left
tomorrow,
in ten thousand years nothing would remain
of what we’ve been.
Except the pyramids.
I crouched next to the can
and watched
an aeroplane in the sky.
It was like a drop of blood
in water.