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.
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
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