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Waste by Wendy Haslam

The sourness of the dustcart as I pass,
invades my throat,
offends my sense of good.

I turn away from heavy-gloved and booted men
rhythmically picking up and emptying,
picking up and emptying,
that very stuff I cannot bear
to have in close proximity

and nuisance things that fill my space,
my head: all dusty, musty, rotten, torn,
all damp and bruised things of no worth,
human debris, dead cells, dried blood,
all thrown into one trucked lump.

And as the men move on
to other bin-lined streets
that guilty weight of self-made waste
is gone.