In The Gutter

The earthy slime in the gutter
sprouts unshaven clumps of grass
with a ragged mosaic
of muddy green lichen
above its wavering shoreline
left by winter’s headlong flows
with their sour odour of rubbish bins.
The murky torrent drags along
cigarette butts, bottle tops,
drink cans and sweet wrappers.

Only the urchin matchbox
strains to change its course,
its corners grasping green clumps
to steer its own path and
choose its own port;
fighting its fate while
other captives are defeated
by the relentless tide.

Other riff raff litter is swept
away to the gutter drain grill
to be scooped up by council staff.
Behind a tall green tuft
the matchbox twirls on
an aberrant eddy then
hooks a sharp corner
around thick stems,
waiting for the sun
to bake its world dry.


Previously posted April 2016.

In The Gutter