Urban Trap Lines

Urban trapper
Starts early
Picking up beverage cans
From garbage cans (urban traps)
Heads to the supermarket parking lot
Standing proud
Like his ancestors looking over the prairie
At the buffalo (before they were made extinct)
He sees four lone carts
Worth a quarter a piece
He rounds them up and collects the coins
Eight garbage cans to check
Fallen change to find
And more from kind hearted folks
Who like to ‘street tithe’ the poor
It’s good for their souls…
Car Wash for lost Loonies
Left on the coin-box (big trap)
Takeout windows from fast-food places
Large cigarette butts to pick
Miles to travel before this Son is done
At the end of a long day
The wise urban trapper
Like the ones of old
Who brought furs to the trading post
Brings his bottles/cans to the depot
And collects their worth
He starts the long walk home
It was a good day
He made $35.78
Scrounged a pouch of tobacco,
For his pipe, the one grandfather gave him
Before he died while out checking traps
On their traditional land, before the clear-cut logging days
And residential schools
It’s better this way he thought
I still have my freedom
One day I will go back to the land
And live the old way
Maybe the animals will have returned.

Charles has been a social activist for 35 years. He can be reached at : aroha@shaw.ca. Read other articles by Charles.