I knew this girl into dumpster-diving

I lived in a city once and my parents owned an overflowing pool.

We kids swam in neglect and debt and marginal, relative, make-believe satisfaction.
The pool buckled over there by the pump where they couldn’t see us, and we used to pull some over on them
Smoking and sucking down booze and making out until four while they were all so sure they’d done well to get us into bed
And primed for college
And careers
Picket fences
We had notions and time was infinite.
Where we used to discuss literature and Straight A’s.
There was a bulge from missed classes and collapsible hours in the cube on the 11th floor of a big ole box full of stale air
Rusty hinges, rotting wood
It was shaped like my stomach, your heart and our bowels and it’s still swelling
One gallon of milk for every
10000 gallons of regret.

If you look from the fence line today, you can see that the top has lawn mowers and rakes jutting out
Parts writing messages to my neighbors like “you’ve really let go of things” and “you could clean this out if you’d just work a little harder.”  That’s what I’m telling them when they ask
They don’t ask.
It’s what I keep telling yourself.
There are drywall scraps and totaled cars
Wads of paper bills floating in their own ink
Some wrinkled and sun-dried and stuck to empty vials that our meds came in.
25000 dollars worth in the margins of satisfaction.

It’s good to know when to leave.
It’s better to know someone who likes my garbage.
I can give it away
Pop the pool back together
And next summer, maybe she’ll come home and complain about how cold the water is.
Or chlorinated.
Or wet.

At least then, I know it isn’t about the garbage
And I can trade the goddamn thing for garden supplies like she asked three years ago.