to the memory of Stephen Crane
I saw a cigarette butt on the sidewalk.
It noticed the attention I paid it, and it spoke to me.
“In the far future,” said the butt, “No anthropologist, however brilliant, would be able to deduce the misery, desperation and willful neglect that I alone imply.”
I told the butt that that was no doubt true, but that not all of us smoke.
“It does not matter,” the butt replied. “I also imply, lying alone and discarded on the sidewalk, that there will be no far future, and no anthropologists.”