No car to drive to the dump and too embarrassed
to borrow one, you scrape the black mold
off the underside as best you can, muscle it
onto your shoulder. Spores multiplied to the size
of you, the rough shape, born night after night
by the heat of your sleep. So late you lurch
down Main Street without notice. Turning
at Taylor you pause between streetlights, crease
the mattress in half and squat on the fold
so you won’t have to face it. You’re almost
to the bridge when the cop’s spotlight throws
the awful bulk of your shadow on concrete.
Where you going with that thing?
You make up a story. Is it yours? You admit it is.
Not your best look, Junior. Yes, you play along,
I should change. The cruiser turns down Eighth
and a moment later a coal train rattles under
the bridge on its way out of the country. You brace
the mattress on the guardrail and pivot
the weight, torqueing it down through the dark
where it lands on the black coal and pulls
north like shame itself on a conveyer belt,
the mold gazing up at you like the aborted face
of what, all by yourself, you have made.