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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, October 24, 2018.
About this Poem 

“Most days I rotely go about my routines, but there are some days when everything is presciently clear and nothing escapes notice; I also can't help but gauge where I am in life. This poem is one of those moments of heightened awareness that makes the seemingly mundane profound.”
—Kamilah Aisha Moon

Taking Out the Trash

Someone else used to do this before.
Someone responsible,
someone who loved me enough
to protect me from my own filth
piling up.
 
But I’m over 40 now & live alone,
& if I don’t remember it's Thursday
& rise with the cardinals & bluejays
calling up the sun, I’m stuck
with what’s left rotting
for another week.
 
I swing my legs like anchors over the side
of the bed & use the wall for leverage
to stand, shuffle to the bathroom.
In summer, I slide into a pair of shorts & flip flops,
wandering room to room to collect
what no longer serves me.
 
I shimmy the large kitchen bag from
the steel canister, careful not to spill
what’s inside or rip it somehow
& gross myself out.
Sometimes I double bag for insurance,
tying loose ends together,
cinching it tightly for the journey.
 
Still combing through webs of dreams,
of spiders’ handiwork glistening above
the wheeled container on the back patio,
I drag my refuse down the driveway
past the chrysanthemums & azaleas,
the huge Magnolia tree shading the living room
from Georgia’s heat, flattening hordes
of unsuspecting ants in my path to park it
next to the mailbox for merciful elves
to take off my hands.
 
It is not lost on me that one day
someone responsible,
someone who loves me enough
will dispose of this worn, wrinkled
container after my spirit soars on.
 
I don’t wait to say thank you
to those doing this grueling, necessary work.
But I do stand in the young, faintly lit air
for a long moment to inhale deeply,
& like clockwork when he strides by,
watch the jogger’s strong, wet back
fade over the slight rise of the road.

Copyright © 2018 by Kamilah Aisha Moon. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 24, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Kamilah Aisha Moon. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 24, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Kamilah Aisha Moon

Kamilah Aisha Moon

Kamilah Aisha Moon is the author of Starshine & Clay (Four Way Books, 2017). She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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When you're gay in Dixie,

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Sometimes the only way to be like daddy

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hope your brothers laugh

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                        “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired!”
 
She sat across the desk from me, squirming.
It was stifling. My suite runs hot
but most days it is bearable.
 
This student has turned in nothing,
rarely comes to class. When she does,
her eyes bore into me with a disdain
born long
2
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            after the news of the dead 
            whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you 
			—W. S. Merwin


A blanket of fresh snow
makes any neighborhood idyllic.
Dearborn Heights indistinguishable from Baldwin Hills,
South Central even—
until a thawing happens and residents emerge
into