One Ode

    The unknown man barked a loud and hollow laugh. Tony recoiled at his breath, which smelled impossibly of onions and sea kelp.

    "You are the candle on the cake; you are the horn on the unicorn," said the man, slapping happily at his bony knee. He laughed hoarsely. "Or, as they say at the sausage factory: you are the weiner. Remember this, and tell your children"

   Then the unknown man rose slowly to his feet and lifted his stubbled face to the sky. He spread his arms and spoke in a voice as soft and loud as fluorescent velvet.

"Ode to the Refuse Receptacle," he began, and the world stopped to listen.

                          Thou yet unfilled bin of nothingness;

                          Thou emptiness, yearning to hold.

                           Bewheeled, bedevilled and sculpted,

                                            Thine fate is a destiny bold.

                           What stories untold will take up your space?

                          What wrinkles etched upon your face?

                         What leavings of man will fill your maw;

                         what detritus? What horrow raw?

                                O Receptacle: hallowed, hollow bin;

                               Mute, unjudging; you harbour our sin.

                            Thou art foul of smell and slimy of touch,

                           Yet

                          With nothingness or rubbish rife,

 

                          Thou art the container of man's trashy life.

             Hot tears pulsed to Tony's eyes. He pitched forward and wept on the pavement. "Jack, Jack," he sobbed, "The ode.

            "The ode." 

The End

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