Confessions of a mad recycler

I’m phobic. Everything phobic.
But mostly germaphobic.
I also fear  travel, laundry,
Big box discount stores,
Buses, trains, door knobs,
Gas stations, garage sales
Milk, wheat, eggs, 
 blue jays.

And those big thick white
China Coffee cups from diners.
Nearly every one has the faint
Form of lipstick stains
 pressed along the rim.

I’m afraid of eating out,
Take out, and delivery 
Deli, too.

I’m real nervous in all cars
 except pickup trucks.
I cling to my seat belt and constantly 
Measure the distance from my nose
To the air bag.
I fear a tire loosening,
Hear bolts vibrating loose.
Sense metal

I won’t shake hands with my doctors 
Or any medical persons.

I’m afraid to hug, 
I won’t shake hands with you
Even if I’ve missed you
And long for your hand.

I check  first to see if
 your nails are clean 
Or if you have a cold.
When was the last time you washed your hands.

I wear little winter gloves
All through the stores,
I use my knuckles to 
Put my PIN in the ATM
I wince as I use my sleeve
To grab a pen for signing.
I shiver when the kid
Behind me in the grocery line
Sneezes into my cart.

The mere thought of an
Airline flight
Sends me into an 
All day panic.

But I can’t help myself
I look into the gigantic dumpster
As I toss my trash.

And I see Them.

Dozens of pristine
Soda and beer cans
Carefully collected.
And tossed.

Then came
grass clippings.
Coffee grounds.
Cat food tins.
And some more really awful stuff.

I cannot bear it.
If the earth is killed
By our hasty waste.
We go with it.

Is our ailing planet
Of so little significance 
To us?

No one here in this whole block
Knows where the Cash for cans Center is?

I wonder.
I look around desperately
For that one homeless guy
With a rickety shopping cart
Who comes by every day.
And digs the cans out with
His filthy grabber claw.

Where is he?

I hear the trash truck in the distance.
Do I have any tools?
a stick? Shovel? Rake? Time.




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