Trash Burning, 1976

by John Riley

This time the bag's bigger
than the boy and the door.
He squeezes and spins

across the brown yard
dragging the boxes,
the cans, the chicken bones.

We watch as he tosses
the last of his chore
on the dead ash

heap. Right now he sees
above the tree line
a silo deep in the winter

mist waver like the heat
over the matchhead's
flicker—he shivers

when a cardboard lady
folds her cold smile
into the new flame.