Each tree is its own advertisement
against plastic bags. Bare branches
unwittingly hold dirty banners
that mutter there and sigh,
rubbing against the sky
like fingers on a balloon.

Somewhere other than this, the
Young Explorers Club is meeting,
ten boys in a church basement,
community center, or bingo hall,
someplace where it doesn’t
sound ridiculous, this pledge
to be a certain way and do
certain things.

Young Explorers promise, for example,
to remove plastic bags from trees,
when weather permits and when
they have built tall enough ladders
or long enough hooks, over the course
of many weeks. They also pledge

to take notice of things like
dead squirrels in alleys—
not to remove them, but
simply to take note, pause,
when they are out walking.

In this way, the Young Explorers think,
no life can ever be wasted. Crows know
the truth: that nothing ever is, not when
the world abounds with young explorers,

and all of them so hungry.


For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. Also, it should be noted that the phrase Young Explorers Club is from Jesse S. Mitchell’s poem by that name. The title popped up in my inbox because I follow his blog, and my mind started working. Please be sure to check out his poem, too — it will give you a lot to think about.