The screech of a garbage truck left me
in a sleep where I am held
by the same thing that gnaws me. When I said
I was still clamouring in the first draft
of my life, I meant everything I trash
will soon have me needled and pinned.
Tomorrow feels like it could be not-haunted
but so far it never isn’t. Months ago I saw someone
carrying a tote bag that said be courageous,
it’s one of the only places left uncrowded
But why not just say most of us are scared.
Put your arms around me and say it.
Me and my trash, we’re warped
through a world that wants neither of us.
We proposed ourselves temporary,
a town of throw-aways, but we didn’t find
a way out of being thrown. Me and my trash,
we like to think we’re good. We’re growing
into a kind of crowd wanting
the way the wind scratches us to be the future
shedding itself of our longing.
Tess Liem’s writing has appeared in Plenitude, the Boston Review and elsewhere. Her 2018 debut collection, Obits, was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award and won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the A.M. Klein Prize. She lives in Montreal on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territories.