On the twenty-third day
of the third month
of the twenty-third year
of a century of anxiety,
we picked up trash in the cemetery.
And with every can, bottle, and condom,
every bag of moldy fries or dog shit,
every cigarillo butt
or plastic cup of tobacco spit,
I said a prayer for the litterer.
I pondered why and how
someone would toss such a thing
from a moving car
or casually drop it
while walking the street by night.
But when I imagined
being the one forgotten,
the one thrown out,
it seemed no small condolence
to abdicate a bit of responsibility
for a world that took none for me
and to require well-meaning neighbors
to gather dust from my fading comet
as an act of penance
or a mutual gift of grace.