Adam Houle

With a pillow case of empties he strolls
Linden Street, past slant-trimmed hedges hiding
Tudors with thin windows and swirled iron
porch rails. The bottles clank against his back.
He worries he is fading. If his face

is a touch and go affair, it will melt
into itself then harden like a scorched doll
cooling. He stops and listens. Fuck the deposit.
Pulls a bottle, lobs it underhand, high
over the hedge, toward that white stucco

house with shades drawn, higher even
than the steeple-pitched roof. How pressed
against the blue swept sky. The bottle
is a lazy fly ball or hand grenade.
He turns in his heart like a rabbit turns,

snake-bit, lodged in its run. But no one
comes. A lawnmower coughs, wind chimes
trill. No beefy men with cropped hair
and cheap watches. He smoothes his nose 
prays his eyes to stay; and his heart, now different,

hurdles end over end, leaves smear marks
as it clambers the crenellated walls of his chest.
Bottles shift and settle. A plane leaves 
four inches of vapor overhead. He walks on.
A girl in the next driveway thinks Halloween

when his lips curl a broken crescent. She wheels
her bike about-face. The garage open, shadowed. 





While I was living in Michigan, the concept of bottle deposits at first attracted me because I figured I'd collect empties to supplement my stipend. This got old and tiring and unrewarding. I also got thinking about the real collectors, the men and women who take to the alleys and streets early in the morning with the hopes of loading up on discards for the dime a pop they'd get at the grocery store. As for St. Amabilis--there are two who share that name, one male, one female--I am also interested in matyrdom and the self-conconsiousness that comes from the sort of calling that saints must feel. This saint is the patron against snakes and fire, if anyone would like to know. So, that's pretty much that. Now that I'm in Texas, there's a can collector here who daily goes through the dumpster behind my fence. He's pretty cool, too.