walking from the southwestern edge of urban civilization to the starbucks just west of a mall, I encountered these things on the ground.
empty cans of soda pop and energy drinks, all caffeine and excitement drained from them and the carnival-colored husks smashed and sleeping where they all collapsed by the side of the road. plastic grocery bags, mostly white. the dead leaves of summer. lost rope. catsup packets, bled dry. cigarette butts, drained of smoke. ruined napkins. styrofoam cups in pieces. a day pass to benbrook lake park, presumed to be for a day that has already passed us by. empty box of condoms, all the lovemaking inside of them gone.
kyle shafer’s receipt from the dry cleaners (1 item, no starch) left on the ground as if his litter didn’t carry his name and location (“and someone else must have left it there, officer, not me”).
broken reflective partition from the center of the highway that’s been smashed away and thrown into the grass. there are no lanes anymore for at least a few yards on that lonely stretch of road.
two small pigeons danced on the ground like scared children below some decorative corporate shrubbery.
a wounded bee, struggling and staggering with only half her body able to move. who knows how long she suffered there before i found her clinging to life and incapable of screaming for help. i prayed for her a moment. then i stepped on her fast. poor thing didn’t deserve all that pain, all that fear.
two dead birds in parking lots smashed flat like feathered crucifixions.
a single worm flailing on the sidewalk, eyeless and ignorant of how come the soft, dark earth has suddenly become hard and dry and hot concrete. i gently nudged the worm with my shoe back to the edge of the sidewalk to help the creature slip into the grass, poor, frightened thing.
lost things. frightened things. dying things. used up things.
also, cars left in parking lots where the buildings are all quiet, all dark, all empty.