On a long walk I cross the eastern bridge
over Buttermilk Creek, the flat slow brown
water moving below, and above the edge
of the far bank, I stop. I’m looking down
on widely scattered colorful stuffed animals
and dolls dumped in attitudes of death,
face down in slick mud shaded by willows
or sprawled with gaping mouths of comic teeth
and googly eyes wide open to the sun
and the hollow sky. A cartoon plane wreck—but
something has really crashed. These are lost ones,
betrayed by rage or someone growing up.
A hand took them away from home and chucked
them into the rank mud of Buttermilk Creek.