Beauty in Garbage

On my way to Wawa this morning, I walked past an empty bottle of Coors and a tied-up bag of dog turds lying next to each other on the sidewalk. And then a butterfly floated past. If that’s not an image of hope — that something beautiful can still happen, even if you’ve had shitty beer and a handful of dog doo — I don’t know what is.

My trek inspired me to write a poem that I like to think of as Charles Bukowski meets Henry David Thoreau. I mean, hey, it’s 2020, so all bets are off.


Beauty in Garbage

Feeling hopeless during

A summer like no other.

In these QuaranTimes

A morning walk to tap the ATM and purchase a coffee

Becomes the social event of the season.


Put on a colorful mask

And my “good” sweatpants

(You say, “Sweatpants,”

I say, “Athleisure.”)

And walk up the block.


Wawa shimmers in the distance —

Like Oz, with breakfast sandwiches.

I walk past the house with chickens and sunflowers in the yard.

Wave to one of my neighbors tending his garden,

Remembering it’s nice to see faces.


Wearing masks

We focus more on the eyes

Knowing if people are genuinely happy to see another human

Or faking it

Just to get on with their day.


One step closer to Wawa and

I see the remnants of someone’s

Not-so-good time:

An empty bottle of Coors

And a tied-up bag of dog doo.


Shitty beer and a sack of dog shit

Mere inches from each other on the pavement.

Suddenly, a butterfly flits past

Instantly making this refuse

Beautiful — mystical, even.


I take it as a message of hope.

That a beer-drizzled, poop-packed

Dark night of the soul

Can become a beautiful thing

In the morning light.


I continue on my mission.

Hit the ATM.

Purchase a cup of Blueberry Cobbler coffee.

Yet, the message of the beauty of garbage stays with me

Throughout the day.

Thank you, Butterfly.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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