New Plastic

I was inspired by an article I read about a local artist who would take cigarette butts and arrange them into glorious, intricate paintings. I would rake the muck in the street and pick out all the garbage: a medical marijuana pouch, a Pringles top, one time a condom, unopened. These items went into a plastic tub from Wal-Mart, clear as a cataract. I kept the dangerous finds, too- the needles and the condoms that had been filled. But I just left it all in a tub. If I filled one, I got another. Until towers of acquired garbage filled the spare room. The room that was meant for the baby. I’d open the door and the scent of new plastic would wash over me. It smelled deeply familiar, but I couldn’t place it. Then one day, I remembered: cabbage patch dolls. The tops of their heads. That chemical joy. Their forever smiles.

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