Clearing A Quarter Mile of Hunter Drive After Snow Melt

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A can of Coors Light with boggy cigarette butts shoved inside, two empty bottles of Dasani Spring Water, capped and flung far across the flowing ditch, into a tangle of buckthorn, barbs catching at my coat; a black puck of Copenhagen chewing tobacco, lid tightly screwed; dropped close to the road, drained and capped, a liter bottle of New Amsterdam Raspberry Vodka, baby blue sleeve shading to purple, colors designed to entice young women; a flask-shaped bottle of Cinnamon Fireball Whiskey, promising to “ignite the nite,” this one, still a quarter full, perhaps a high school kid jettisoning guilt before reaching home and judgement; a a soggy box of Diet Cokes, each empty can nestled in its slot—not slobs, these careful roadside discarders.

A week later, I walk the road again and retrieve a zip-locked baggy, within, a pearlescent wrapper, labeled “Pure Organic Marijuana,” an empty pack of Juul e-cigarettes, 5% nicotine, a neatly tied Burlington Coat Factory plastic bag, stuffed with two Burger King cups, straws and ketchup-smeared hamburger wrappers, and I feel something like gratitude for this tidy thrower, who has a more wholesome appetite. I pick up seven more Fireball Whisky bottles, one for each day, and wonder who is this drinker, this driver, this regular user, who abuses daily? When you walk a road regularly, you form knowing relationships with the unknowns who litter your road.

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