I found a dozen or more fossils
On sand bars of the
Platte wildlife Park.
Perfectly preserved by the silty powder.
Due to my extensive recent expertise
In this matter.
I could decipher exactly the era, origin,
And timeline:

Golden, Colorado pre 1980
Aluminum can
Pull off pop top absent.
Every word of the can
Still easily read. No eroding. No rust.
decades in the Platte
Not altering the lettering or icons.

I stuff the razor-sharp fiends into my pockets
Until an emergency room visit
Always I find another vestige
A one or two or ten year old
(It’s impossible to tell the age there.)
SaveMart bag, entangled in the weeds.
I fill it to overflowing.

I’m at risk for a ticket, letting the dog run free
For I can’t hold the bulging bags of trash
And his leash.
I am hoping for some sort of
Get out jail free card
For Anti-littering the once unspoiled river.

These are the legacies we leave the future?
Not exactly Clovis points.
We are ignoring the obvious.
And that just below the surface.
Despite the messages from hundreds of white semaphores.
Streamers caught in once pristine trees.
A worn, wrinkled, oft read telegram,

A massive Great Blue Heron
Stares at me in righteous anger.
She hangs her head low.
I wonder if her belly holds
A cache of bits in bright
non fishy colors:
Legos, happy meal toys,
Or sick fish with bits of toothbrushes
And cola bottles inside.

I pull down all the white semaphores.
but out of reach green
Mountain Dew bottles bob toward the
Mississippi Delta. And the open sea.
tears blur my eyes to the
ridiculous, unlaughable irony.

I come within feet of the heron
so clearly I can see her yellow rimmed
Steeled eyes.
She studies me as she lifts off
slowly in her pain.


  1. we want it easy, throw away
    so as not to impede the flow
    of more buying more and more
    junk food in a wrapper, in a box, in a sack
    in a plastic bag,
    calories consumed in seconds
    the wrappers and bags
    our gift
    to the generations to come.

  2. You are right about our “recklessly preparing” for the future “fossil” hunters.
    In Picture Canyon of Commanche National Grass Lands, there were pictures of symbols, people, Spanish soldiers and bighorn sheep cut into the sandstone cliff by some unknown artist, along with a more recent vistors bullet holes.

  3. I hear you loud and clear. I am shocked at how much trash is generated and tossed aside as though it doesn’t matter. It does matter … it will matter very much within the near future. . .

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