Some Pieces of Plastic

[Originally published on Popcorn Popping 2006]

Some pieces of plastic just know what they want to be
long before they are brewed in a pocked vat,
or birthed violently from mold to assembly line,
long before even the formula in some chemist’s folder.
I knew this for certain driving in the city the other day.
All the radio offered was wars and rumors of wars. 
And the city’s studied pose—all sterility and alienation—
asserted itself in every gutter and rain-thirsty grate.
It was an orange barrel, distant relative of the one-eyed
folding barricade; a portable, poor man’s jersey barrier.
Penetrating the median, coming to an abrupt stop,
a car had spilled the barrel’s sand guts all over the road.
A gaudy bloom, frisbee-sized, shamelessly yellow and
brown, burst from the orange plastic shards that remained.
“I would have preferred a rose too,” the proud new
flower pot seemed to say, “but life being what it is, and
having just retired from the highway department,
I can’t complain about the sunflower."