I become part of this garbage
crew, empty cans
along the Wanapum Pool.
Peel condoms off rocks
beside fire pits—call
them snakeskins.
I learn quick.
When there’s a hoof
in the road
I know
to grope through the ditch
for the rest of the goat.
I sling bags so they won’t split,
my uniform juiced with intestines
of liquefied King Salmon.
I shovel a pit bull
from a plastic tub
in a parking lot—he’s
dense and flat at the belly,
a figurine.
I stop dry heaving
over the dead-animal-dumpster
at head quarters, even as it vibrates
with maggots, the stink
generating its own heat.
And as the part-body
of a man is fished from the river,
duct taped to a tarp,
I wade in to my knees.
Watching for bones, coils
of skin, I try to imagine
his knife-bisection
at the hips, the sound
of a spine snapped.
My litter grabbers outstretched,
I’m combing for the bottom half.

Taneum Bambrick