His angular path through the parking lot

set off an oddball alert.

Struggling to feed cans

into yet another machine,

I watched as he reached inside

the one that had jammed on me.

My uncooperative can popped out.

My nickels worth of aluminum

was now in his possession.

I asked him to share his can-freeing technique,

subtly informing him of my prior claim.

“Do you want it back?”

Absolutely, but I wouldn’t admit it.

I just repeated my question

and took the can from him

as he held it out to me.

He demonstrated his method

but advised against it.

“You might cut your hand.”

I considered the probability,

then accepted his judgement.