The Bottle Picker by Jeff Nazzaro
The Bottle Picker
The crash said I must have startled
him, no mean feat, taking out my trash
at that worm-catching hour, broken green
glass at his black-booted feet.
Peering out from under the bill
of his old foam-and-mesh baseball cap,
mangy black beard dotted with salt, his
regard arrested me and my garbage.
Dark green Hefty bag slung over right
shoulder, his left fist gripped a Rossignol
ski pole, I guessed for spearing rats and
fending off dogs.
That's how I knew him standing thus--
the bottle picker, I called him, dirty worker,
dawn crooner—looking down at the wine
vessel remains, don't worry, that's just garbage,
he said, garbage.
But these here, them's nickels,
and from the bottom of the dumpster
he plucked a box of empty Corona
bottles, transferring them one by one,
clink by clink, into his unslung bag.
Jeff Nazzaro lives in Southern California, where he writes fiction and poetry. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Talking Soup, BareBack, Oddville Press, Flash: The International Short-short Story Magazine, The Angel City Review, and other fine literary venues.
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