He’s a dealer in trash,
earns a meager living picking
through what others leave out for the garbage collector,
buffs the refuse up as best he can,
whether it’s an old television or a torn coat,
sells it in his version of a thrift shop
or at the weekend flea markets in the old mill.
He likes to say that somebody’s treasure
is another guy’s junk
but most of what he trades in
barely makes it past the junk stage.
Everything’s cheap and even then
he has to haggle with the locals,
their pockets full of
nothing but coins and ragged dollar bills.
His family gets by on what he ekes
out of old bits of metal, magazines and games,
and what his wife earns cleaning
other people’s houses,
though their one child, a boy in his late teens,
mostly hangs around the house,
lying on the couch
or smoking weed up in his bedroom.
They are far from the nuclear family.
And a not particularly loving bunch.
But the world has reserved a space
for just such a trio
and they fill it as best they can.
Today, he snared a couch
left on the sidewalk
that he reckons he can get
a sawbuck for.
And her services have been recommended
to a wealthy family in the valley.
And the boy blurted out that morning,
“I might have a job lined up.”
Some days, they not only fill that space
they have it bulging at the seams.