Garbage Day

Garbage Day

They’re coming soon
to pick up the week’s detritus –
Corona bottles, paper plates caked
with dried tomato sauce. The usual.
I tote a bulging garbage bag down the back stairs
And heave it into a stained green bin.
The sun is only a promise in the predawn grey sky.

Sorting through the recyclables,
I shove aside soggy newspapers
And the dampened carcasses of empty envelopes
Until I retrieve a tattered receipt the taxman will need
for my son’s meager estate.

Not much time. I hear their truck groaning in the next block.
One more trip and I’ll be done.
My last cargo is rotting flowers.
A week ago (or was it two?)
when I identified his body in the morgue,
The sprays were elegant white lilies
And radiant but fragile roses
Held high on stalwart emerald stems.
Now they are fetid, flaccid, spent.
They have done their noble duty
of brightening dull days,
But their life ended too soon…like his.

My deadline’s met – the garbage guys aren’t here yet.
I trudge up the stairs, already exhausted
Yet the day’s just beginning.
Strewn along the path, I pass the fallen petals
from a dead bouquet – puddles of fuchsia tears.

About admin

I'm a former Senior Copy Editor on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" and the author of three mystery-suspense novels: "Fast Track," "Bluff," and "Troubled Water." Book four in the Lark Chadwick mystery series, "Bullet in the Chamber," will be published October 15, 2016 by Strategic Media Books.
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One Response to Garbage Day

  1. Robin Kemp says:

    John, Dad just told me what happened and I am so deeply sorry for you and your family. Please know that you are in my prayers, such as they are. Your poem has strong iambic pentameter tendencies and the air of a sonnet. Maybe it wants to be one. Sometimes a formal approach helps. It’s also fine just the way it is. I’m so sorry and send you a hug from Atlanta.


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