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.