ryan quinn flanagan | garbage


I heard the truck coming
and I rushed to collect all the bags
from previous garbage days


The first had a pile of maggots that
writhed through the top
and squished in my hand
while the second broke open
when I tried to lift it
and a half decomposed meat carcass rolled over my feet
as a mystery juice ran down my leg.

I picked up the meat carcass
and rushed to double bag
and tie the garbage
and get it to the curb
before the truck passed me by

The truck pulled up
just as I threw down the bags
and the guy in a stained wife beater
with a drooping cigar hanging from his mouth
took one look at the bags
and then at me
and then knocked on the side of the truck
to tell the driver
to move on.

Hey, aren’t you going to take my bags?,
I yelled.


Why not?,
I asked.
They’re garbage and you’re the garbage man.
It seems like a natural fit to me.

The garbage man was not amused.

It’s not bagged right,
he shot back.

Not bagged right,
I questioned
what does that mean?
It’s in a bag, isn’t it?
How does garbage get more bagged
than that?

The garbage truck continued on
down the street
and I was left with my maggots
and meat carcass
and mystery juice

for another week.

A few nights later
under cover of darkness
my garbage woes

went away.

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