In The Alley

by Ted Kooser

In the alley behind the florist's shop,
a huge white garbage truck was parked and idling.
In a cloud of exhaust, two men in coveralls
and stocking caps, their noses dripping,
were picking through the florist's dumpster
and each had selected a fistful of roses.

As I walked past, they gave me a furtive,
conspiratorial nod, perhaps sensing
that I, too (though in my business suit and tie)
am a devotee of garbage – an aficionado
of the wilted, the shopworn, and the free—
and that I had for days been searching
beneath the heaps of worn-out, faded words
to find this brief bouquet for you.

please note: photo by piedmont fossil


  1. Aaaahhhh...

    That just hit the spot!

    Thank you, ma chère Distracted friend.

  2. As an inveterate hunter in the dumpster of life, I can relate... one never knows where a beautiful bouquet may be hiding amidst the brambles of this "bas monde"...

  3. And somewhere (not here, not yet) the trees and bushes on the boulevard are throwing out bouquets for free.

  4. Now if a man spoke these words to me, I think I'd swoon.

  5. I think I must comment on every poem you post, but then I realize I read them in Google reader, and I only respond in my heart.

    Love it here.


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