We retreated to the Recycling Depot. It cost us one twenty-character palindrome to get in. We were all reusing language. That night’s show was billed as a lecture. It didn’t matter. We had plenty of poisonous food and ashy water. What we lacked was entertainment.

The lecture featured a man chewing and sucking on aluminum soda cans. It was bloody and slow. He was demonstrating his theory that there were enough nutrients left in these cans, sticky and dirty, to sustain us. The lecture had been ongoing for weeks. It was awful, regardless of whether it was true.

There was another reason to hand over such an elaborate palindrome. Beyond this exhibition were The Piles, and within them, every item we ever slipped into a blue bin. They sparkled or hummed or vibrated among the heaps in such a way their previous owner would recognize them, remember their circumstance and context. It was a strenuous jog of the memory, painful and euphoric.

Paper. Cardboard. Aluminum. Clear glass. Colored glass. We weren’t being judged or punished. This wasn’t hell.