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Parade of the White Crows
[ May 3, 1994]

The dog's awake, shivering,
brisket swollen, ears laid back
at the window sill, watching
junk-cruisers curb-crawling
well before morning twilight,
crepuscular creatures,
bent fritillaries winging
between jetsam stalagmites,
mute scouts ranging ahead
of googie-vans and bondo trucks
choc-a-bloc beyond my chokecherries.

No poor here and no room
either, the trash-clan follows
the annual city route
same as caribou move by instinct
over fragile arctic tundra,
miles and miles of miles and miles
driven by some deeper need
to cut a corner, find Van Gogh
or Shakespeare's lost folios,
among discards stacked along
the Avenue of Edington.

The white crows arrive each May,
wonks of waste descending
to dodge bleached dog-rockets,
loading their catafalques
with ordure of strangers,
cognoscenti of fod,
sparkle-arkle speculators
wading through broken fencing
in a salad of butt-floss
and squiffy dealybobs,
hunting ersatz treasures
with the single mindedness
of buck-an-eers tacking south
from Hatteras or Naw-lins
looking over their shoulders.

S'matter? the bed-voice asks
smokey-croakey with last night's Kents.
First echelon of junk pickers
hit the beach before the dawn,
as I speak, sift our want-nots
with jewelers' loups and NVGs.
You, she keens.  It's just junk.

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