Let it go, the story still in
the drop of beer in the bottom
of each bottle. Whisper it out

with water; then imagine how
each empty will tell a story
about you: Did you have

a wild party, or did you drink
all twelve by yourself (and,
if so, in what span of time)?

Imperial red. Milk stout.
The names are stories, too.
The labels. The bottle caps.

Your son likes to gather those,
click them together like gears.
What a thing to let him play with,

but there’s no denying that
each one is each one, attractive
to magpies and little boys.

Let him keep them for a while
or a longer while, bordering on
forever, so that a few years

from now, you’ll be surprised
he still has them. How did that
happen? How is it that years pass

and some small things stay with us?
Toss the bottles in the bin in the alley
to be crushed, refilled, made new.


For NaBloPoMo and PAD Challenge, Day 20 (prompt: gathering and/or letting go). Will also be for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets, once that’s up (links can be posted there each Tuesday, starting at 3:00 p.m. Eastern).




9 thoughts on “Recycling

  1. ugh…there is a scary element to this…that the child who watches will follow the same pattern and recycle the behavior as well….the clicking of the bottle caps…is a great touch and rather haunting….

    • Wow, so not intended! (But it’s OK if it’s there for you — especially because I did ask the question early on, about the manner in which the beer was consumed.) I have recently discovered craft beer, and by “discover,” I mean that I enjoy it extremely moderately. With dinner. This is such a great example of how the writer’s intention can differ from how the reader experiences the poem. 🙂

  2. I thought your new discovery proved a most interesting journey…(beer and me do not get along well…I’ve been saying that a lot lately) but my hubby has recently begun exploring beyond his old standby. He’s not much of one for poetry…so this was quite nice…guess who’s going to be reading this one…maybe with your help I can convert him 😉

  3. ladynyo says:

    I love this! The clicking together of bottle caps is part of little boys. and my little boy always had his hands full….of something…anything.

    There is great psychological pull to your words….and I fell under your spell. I don’t what I was looking for, but you sucked me right in.

    That is the power of poetry, where woven words meets psychology. To me, this poem was greatly layered, but perhaps I am seeing something that wasn’t intended….but so be it!

    the wonderful power of words, of poetry is in the preception.

    Lady Nyo

    • Thank you so much! I think it was layered, maybe more than I thought or intended … because while I’ve lately been responsibly enjoying a craft beer now and then with dinner, and modeling for my children nothing but moderation, I was raised in a household where it would be very unusual to have a beer with dinner — not totally unheard of, but definitely eyebrow-raising. So I’m sure I still carry that, which gives the poem a mostly unintended air of menace or danger.

      And yes … little boys and small objects, and having to handle everything — when do they outgrow that? Ever?

  4. I enjoyed reading this–my kids have beer caps from years ago, maybe even going back a decade or so (they use them for poker chips!). Fine work throughout–I especially like the lines,
    but there’s no denying that
    each one is each one, attractive
    to magpies and little boys.


    • Thank you! I always like to hear which lines people liked, and often they match up with the ones I liked, too, or where I felt especially connected.

      Wow, we’ll see if we still have these bottle caps 10 years from now — that’s cool that yours are still in use. 🙂

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