Only a slight difference in kind, and none in degree.
A slight difference in kind, but not degree. Justin Paget / GETTY IMAGES

I guess hoarders are having a bit of a moment. As the details of the federal "relief" package indicate, the handful of freaky cretins currently running the country hoard wealth the way your suburban-brained neighbor now hoards toilet paper. Though there's a slight difference in kind, these anti-democratic opportunists share a trait with the standard-issue, conspicuously consuming Americans featured on the A&E reality television show series Hoarders, which still appears to be running after 10 seasons.

Writer and artist Kate Durbin takes one of A&E's junk pilers as the subject of her poem "Hoarders: Tara," which you will be able to find next spring in her forthcoming collection from Wave Books. If you like the poem, check out her book E! Entertainment, available at local bookstores.

In the meantime, a few notes:

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• To save you the trouble—or the pleasure—of figuring out what's going on here, I'll just say that Durbin is juxtaposing selected quotes from Hoarders' subject with descriptions of images captured by the show's camera. In this case, Tara's words are in italics, and the images are in plain text.

• Though the swift-moving spectacle of the television show invites viewers to cast easy judgment on these hoarders, Durbin employs poetry's slower speed to show a more complicated picture. Instead of using Tara's story to make us feel better about ourselves for not being hoarders, she indicts aspects of American culture we all participate in—religion, capitalism—and reveals our complicity, all while dropping a lot of sight gags in the process.

• My favorite funny moment: "I have done the Lord’s work humbly Thomas Kinkaide puzzle of Cinderella castle." My favorite funny-sad moment: "My brain is not wired for this 18-year old pile of unopened mail." My favorite depressing moment: "My mother, she had a one-bedroom Nativity set / We all ended up sleeping in the same crumbling Family Circus comic strip."