River Sleepers.

I remember the slugs,
Tattered clothes, caked deep in mud,
Stubborn, layered and dried,
By credit cards, cans, a mattress too,
And even a forsaken tent;
But slugs— I remember the slugs.

We lifted, picked, bagged,
Hoisted, carried and toiled,
As the river trickled on below,
And the man told me all
About how the Giant Hogweed 
Reached our strange Victorian shores.

I wondered if I’d see one;
If they’d come at me enraged,
Or docile, thankful, friendly even,
As I tied another bag of trash,
These scattered lives, unseen and stashed
With sufferable, ungentle sleeps.