ROSIE (counselor): Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
CINDY JUYOUNG OK (caller): I’ve been eating trees my whole life.
ROSIE: Huh. I was just going to take mine to the curb.
Concept and first couplet by Susan Young; completed by David Sklar
‘Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house
Empty boxes and paper were strewn all about.
I stood in the living room, steeling my nerve
To take the recycling out to the curb.
The papers were scattered all over the floor,
In drifts in the corners, and one at the door.
I gazed at the carnage, admitted defeat,
Then swept like a fiend all the way to the street.
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Our pile of used wrappings had gotten so tall
That it shook when I swept, like a bowl full of jelly
(the same at our neighbors’, and their pile was smelly).
All the way up and down on both sides of the road
The mounds of bright papers looked fit to explode,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear?
The recycling truck! As it slowly rolled near,
There appeared to be something wrong with the suspension.
It shook as it went, like that jelly I’d mentioned.
In that gray, hazy morningtime, such was my luck
That the driver passed by without stopping the truck,
And I heard him explain as he trundled away,
“The truck is all full, so I’m done for the day.”