January 2005 / Volume VI / Issue I
Liz Lynn Miller

At the Container Deposit
Redemption Site

In a jolt of lucidity
I know that my joy
and breath do not
depend on waiting
in this traffic jam
of carts and people who
need their nickels
more than I do,
and in a fever
I gather my twelve-pack
boxes, my sixers
and bags of rejects
and empties, and
I blow this pop-stand
in a too-big hurry,
scattering cans. And
here’s a sweet boy
who tries to help,
to whom I mutter
you can have ‘‘em
and the nickels too!
Here’s a sorry family
with two cart-loads
of income, and also
last night’s party hosts
hung-over, and a trio
of college girls,
and just outside the door
to hear me cussing, sit
two bums for whom
deposits are a way
of life, and they
don't care that half
the machines are belly-up,
that the sour-stinking,
grimy, puddled passage
could be a hygienic
time-bomb, that this
insulting method
of redemption was
invented by robber barons
with devil’s hearts.So in explosive hatred
I kick my tumbling box
of Coke cans, kick
it like I’d like to kick
the creators of this
wicked business.
I blast those useless
cans so well they thunder
across the parking lot,
and I swear
I’ll never buy another
nickel deposit can
or bottle, ever.