I Understood Our Time Was Running Out

For Julie I understood our time was running out, so I planned a winter picnic, and privately decided not to eat. We drove past petrified trees, and thankfully we passed …

For Julie

I understood our time was running out,
so I planned a winter picnic, and privately decided
not to eat. We drove past petrified trees,
and thankfully we passed a cyclist
with prayer cards woven through his spokes—
so he provided talk until
we reached the cove. You spread a collapsed cardboard box
over seagrass blown the wrong way,
while I unpacked my obvious fruits and vegetables:
pomegranate, artichoke heart, cherry.
Some people bag the first head they see.
I’d chosen lettuce as carefully
as a ball gown, comparing ruffles.
But soon we were noting a summer A-frame,
nodding our emptying heads, and as if at a chess game
we stared at the square foot between us.
Soon I’d try on your glasses, you’d play with my lighter,
a few feet away foam came off the water
and dolloped the rocks, and a plastic doll torso
was eight waves away from arriving:
armless legless sucked and beaten clean.

This appeared in the September 2011 issue.

Sara Peters
Sara Peters was a 2010–2012 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her first book, 1996, was published in 2013.

Fund the journalism we need now

In turbulent times, it is crucial that reliable media remains available to everyone. From vaccine misinformation to political polarization, the challenges our society is facing today are too important for half-truths. If you trust The Walrus, we ask that you consider becoming a monthly supporter. Your donation helps us keep The Walrus’s fact-checked online journalism free to all.

Tusks