Issue Thirty-Three - Winter 2019

One Small Thing

By Paul Ilechko

The trash bags had been outside too long.
The gray boards of the deck faded in the sun,
the steps down to the back alley blackening in the shade.

The bags were split, their contents turned
into a muddy slop speckled with eggshell,
and when I tried to coax the mess into a new,
clean bag the messy sludge oozed out of control,
black and stinking in the heat of the middle day.

But perseverance wins out, along with a roll
of kitchen paper for scooping and wiping the filthy mess,
and soon the bags are down the steps and into the dumpster
at the edge of the alleyway, where the Spanish neighbor
works on his car with a smile and a word for anyone who passes.
And it felt good to have accomplished one small thing.

Copyright Ilechko 2019