Ariel Francisco

Thoughts While Taking Out the Trash


I recall reading somewhere

how styrofoam will outlive

us all, and that there’s an island


twice the size of Texas

swirling into shape

out in the Pacific,


made up of all the garbage

and debris that just won’t

break down, much like how


planets are formed, space-shit

spinning in the universe’s

darkness, drawing each other


in until a globbed sphere begins

to emerge. It’s a continent

no one wanted to discover—


no enthusiastic “land-ho!”,

no landmarks named for kings,

no bays or beaches named


after its founders, no flags

planted to declare it

for the motherland. I wonder


if it’s dense enough to walk on,

or if I would sink right through

like thin ice. I try to imagine


the smell and shudder—

the stench of my apartment’s

dumpster alone makes my face


screw up like a hermit crab

retreating into a too-small

shell, and I think that twice-


Texas-sized floating trash

island that’s still growing

and will outlast humanity


is perhaps the only place

I know of that’s maybe

worse than Florida.


Ariel Francisco is the author of All My Heroes Are Broke (C&R Press, 2017) and Before Snowfall, After Rain (Glass Poetry Press, 2016). Born in the Bronx to Dominican and Guatemalan parents, he completed his MFA at Florida International University in Miami. His poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2016, Fjords Review, Gulf Coast, PANK,, Prelude, Quiet Lunch, Washington Square, and elsewhere. He lives in South Florida (for now).

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