Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It's late when I pass it by.
The waste bin,
Smelling and overflowing with
The neighbors' collective rubbish.
Old, read newspapers,
Wasted food that mothers
Urged their children to eat
Before they junked it while she was arguing with the dhobhi,
Black polythene bags
That had been used to bring home
Sweets and bread from the iyyengar bakery
Among a whole lot of other rotting things.

He sat there in the midst of it all.
Looking, searching, sifting.
In his old, blue T-Shirt
And battered pants given to him
By a pitying housewife.

I watched him
As he picked up a coconut,
And shake it vigorously.

I watched him,
Watched his toothless grin
Grow wider as he realized
He could take it home with him.

I watched him get up and skip away with it.

I watched him
And I realized,
My trash
Was his fortune.

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