Picnic Graffiti

Graffiti on the local school picnic table caught my eye.


By Christina Pugh

And at the picnic table under the ancient elms,
one of my parents turned to me and said:
“We hope you end up here,”
where the shade relieves the light, where we sit
in some beneficence—and I felt the shape of the finite
after my ether life: the ratio, in all dappling,
of dark to bright; and yet how brief my stay would be
under the trees, because the voice I’d heard
could not cradle me, could no longer keep me
in greenery; and I would have to say good-bye
again, make my way across the white
California sand and back: or am I now creating
the helplessness I heard those words express,
the psalm torn like a map in my hands?

Poetry (February 2006).