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Job describes a saguaro

Talking Tumamoc Trash

Three poems by Russell Long

Your poem?

Your story?

Your essay?


Talking Tumamoc Trash


Old timers have stories to tell.

We gather around and listen.

Old things have stories to tell.

We gather around and listen

with eyes, hands, sense of smell.

Trash on Tumamoc Hill tells a story,

a hundred years, a landscape of detritus:

cobalt blue, orange, white, pink, sage green;

fine, hair-like curly copper wire;

lab discards, pipettes, flasks, tiny bottles;

glass smoky, cloudy, dirty.

Rust flourishes and claims lids,

a piece of chain,

handles for jugs,

a mule shoe,

cans of evaporated milk and sardines,

a Kiwi shoe polish container,

a razor for shaving.

Trash on Tumamoc Hill a grocery list

for plotting, counting, cooking, singing.

Old things have stories to tell.

The stories remain a mute voice

but still we listen.


— Valerina Quintana