One Man's Trash

by Lisa Timpf

Scobie's Scrapyard, that's where it's said
the old hulks go to die. Here they rest
in bits and rusting pieces, the pool of buyers
shrunken to the size of a small and murky
puddle. How the crowds thronged, in its heyday!
Now, though, the neighbours see it as a junkyard,
an eyesore, a blight up on the land.
Scobie limps through aisles bounded by a
precarious and precipitous stacking of found objects.
Like a file clerk with a photographic memory,
he keeps a catalogue in his mind. Need an emergency kit
from an escape pod? Right this way. A navi-board
for one of those early DeepSpace three-person yachts?
Scobie's your man.
He watches the stars at night, his hand
resting on his German Shepherd's
head. No need to get another junkyard dog,
once this old fella's gone. No-one bothers him, any more,
not worth the effort. Scobie listens to the wind's
tuneless whistle, watches the way
the three moons cast phantom shadows
from the fins and the nose cones, the bulking masses of
all the creations meant to span the skies.
Three-dee printing, that's been his bane, that
and mass produced goods from Altair 4. No-one
appreciates genuine leather seats, thumbprint-sealed
weaponry cabinets of the finest Hydrean design,
Greenoan storage lockers, or even a smuggler's desk
with three hidden compartments—
two in places you'd think to look,
the third not.
He knows he'll never leave here, his hopes of travelling
the trackless voids of space destined to remain
unfulfilled. He shifts in his seat, seeking relief
for his aching back. Still, he can't help thinking
his scrapyard's like that hidden compartment, a rare treasure,
and when he squints and looks between the rusting
forms, he can still make out the shadows
of his vanquished dreams.

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