Plastic #6 (Polystyrene)
The serrated edge of the plastic knife skips
across the spongy surface. A smooth pebble.
The fork leaves four evenly spaced puncture wounds
which instead of oozing blood
slowly fill with syrup.
I could travel these perforated tracks for days
hopping freight cars ‘cross country.
I’ll cover myself with California blankets
read the headlines on the front page
while I pretend to sleep.
Tucked between polystyrene:
yellow on top, white on the bottom.
If you snap off the inner two tines of a spork
along with the handle, and press what’s left
against the roof of your mouth
all that will remain
is a reasonable approximation of a vampire.
The sound of landfills filling
is tied to the flavor of my soul.
Baby carrots wrapped in pale yellow crêpe paper
and emblazoned with the scarlet letter M
taste better to preschoolers.
I save the cardboard container
from the cookie cutter hash brown
because it reminds me of a little red speedboat.
The Golden Arches stopped using Styrofoam
even before they stopped counting.
Apparently 99 Billion was enough.
Or, perhaps, it was simply too expensive
to add an additional plastic digit.
Seventy-seven percent of children
prefer the taste of french fries
when eaten directly from a McDonald’s bag.
The wind blows trash head over heels
down Rainier Ave. To preserve the narrative
I point it out to you.
I answer the question of children.
It’s the children issue again,
so we’re asking you to write down everything you know
about children. Children who watch too much television
are more likely to be overweight.
This poem was brought to you by the number 6,
and the letters P and S.
In a cabinet at work, I keep a secret sleeve of Styrofoam cups.
When no one is looking, I press my nose so close
that I can make out each one of the tiny plastic spheres.
I‘m tempted to break them up, rub them back and forth
between my fingertips. Huddled so tightly,
I can almost see them shiver.
P.S. You asked earlier what comes after 99.
The answer, in case you’re still wondering, is
Billions and Billions.
Drew Dillhunt | Mudlark No. 39 (2010)
Contents | Plastic #3 (Polyvinyl Chloride)