When I think of heaven, I see trash:
Broken bottles, leaking Freon, used notebooks,
Thanksgiving scraps, industrial dross, ash
Of lives that rot and leach into the brooks
And streams that feed the river, then the sea.
Yet, when I conceive a perfect hell, it looks
Unpeopled, manicured, fresh, foolproof, each tree
Equal, sidewalks flat, no black oil stain
On any gray driveway. Loveless and pure.
Why, then, am I so ashamed of my pain?
I haul my grief in my sinful junk cart,
As if I could secure peace from this vain,
Broken, human life. No, I live, not apart
From death, my pardon pawned, deep of my heart.
Richard Stimac writes poetry about growing up in the Rustbelt. Richard published poetry in Faultline, Havik (2021 Best in Show for Poetry), Michigan Quarterly Review, Penumbra, Salmon Creek Journal, Wraparound South, and others, and an article on Willa Cather in The Midwest Quarterly.