Joseph Rios – Ephraim Goes With Me to the Dump

Joseph Rios

Ephraim Goes With Me to the Dump

Gallo Wine was the only one to survive on Clovis.
They take loads of all-green for twenty bucks
and turn it into fertilizer that feeds cheap wine.
I’m doing my part. We got layers of leaves in
different stages of rot. The stiff metal rakes are
our best friends as the fellas in hard hats tell us
to hurry up with bleating horns. I’m coughing
on the fermenting slop as one layer slides smooth
off like a waffle lubed with butter. It’s like butter,
E says, and he’s right on time. It’s all coming out
pretty good now and Ephraim is smiling while
wearing the gloves I let him borrow. I’ve been here
too many times for it to feel special. But the words
come out anyway. I climb in and kick the pile forward
with my creased and cracked boots, then broom
the small bits away. I’ve said nothing about sound.
The earth movers have a way of being so loud
your eyesight gets better. The way I’m noticing
my friend now climbing into the truck and
pulling off those gloves, I can see him so clearly.
I’m doing all that I can to hold onto the image
of his arm out the window, conducting each
sentence from his mouth like a symphony.  

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