garbage man

Not known, I suppose, for their heroics
Like firemen, policemen.
garbage collectors
Distained I think
By some for the worst job

Why should they care?
About refuse, refuge?

Aboard their giant orange towering missiles
Eyes to the job
One more muddy alley
And one more backyard
Reeking dumpsters in summer’s heat.

But today
One quick glance

Tells Sam all is not well
in back of a cultivated yard
At 700 Park Ave.
From his orange tower,
he sees what
neighbors might miss
Maybe for hours.

In 90 degree heat.
Madge lies still
And silent among her geraniums and petunias.
radio at the ready,
Only moments pass before his fellow
Civil servants arrive
Checking pulse, blood pressure
They wave Sam on

His city radio full of chatter
and Madge
Safe away in an ambulance.

He moves on
without more than a nod
a secret hero.

One more alley
One more reeking day
In summer’s heat,
On this day, though,

A garbage man takes a chance
and saves a life.


  1. Garbage men… unsung heroes indeed. Without them, we’d have to face, deal with, be weighed down by our own stuff — in all its forms. ***mcb***

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