Ode to Litter

A cigarette butt on the sidewalk

Discarded, unwanted

Scraped underfoot into a stain:

Onionskin paper, filter, and tobacco


Vilest of litters

Its paper

Born of noble lineage

Papyrus and velum, its kin

Its filter

Synthetic hair, once oil

Reformed by chemical invention

Its tobacco

Nature’s own weave that turns

Sun, sky and water into living body


The butt, a palimpsest of

Life, intelligence, culture.

Vile and magnificent.

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