Philip Dacey: "Song of the Dented Can"




The bargain basket’s full, half-off

for any dented box or can.

I love to hover, dig deep in.

You’d think I was looking for a twin.

I must be a dented can myself.

I must have been pulled off the shelf

and tossed here with my dented kin.

When did my dented life begin?

From the start, a weakness in my tin?

Or did something outside press within?

Maybe you’re dented some yourself.

It happens to the best of cans.

Just one blow on the chin.  But if,

come all this distance, you’re still sans

dents, credit the fond eye of Chance.

I sing a song of the dented can.

My song, of course, is dented, too.

A dented can can’t sing like new.

But what a dented can can do

is—almost—imitate a man.



Philip Dacey is the author of eleven books of poetry, including entire collections about Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Eakins, and New York City; his latest are Mosquito Operas: New and Selected Short Poems (Rain Mountain Press, 2010) and Vertebrae Rosaries: 50 Sonnets (Red Dragonfly Press). His twelfth collection, Gimme Five, is forthcoming as winner of the 2012 Blue Light Book Award.