We say “You’re trash, rubbish, garbage”
all to mean “You’re worthless.”
But what is the worth of a trashcan?

Something that starts pristine,
empty but untarnished,
isolated but unalone,
awaiting influence.

Something we influence with leftovers:
picked clean peels of fruit and product,
oversaturated smears of tea and coffee,
folded fragments of labels and paper.

Something we fill the emptiness of
with what we’ve emptied,
it finding what we’ve emptied
to be its real fulfillment.

Something that weathers
soda splatters and odd scratches,
curdled odors and endless refuse
with the grace of that declared its antithesis.

WIth this something bearing the brunt
of our blunders more than we bother to,
what can we say but “You’re trash,”
only to mean “You’re brave, resilient, worthy.”