Kimberly Ramos

Ode to Graffiti

I do not know who R.P. is, but sometime in
1968 he stood at the same cement
I am standing and etched
his blocky initials into the stone,
and threw, I imagine, a middle fingered salute
to the man the monument
was really for.

Maybe last weekend she saw her boyfriend
kissing somebody else, so she sequestered herself in a stall,
and using the permanent marker
she brought from home because those weak-ass janitors
weren’t going to erase it this time,
scrawled her declaration:
Cheryl S is a slut!

M.M.U. and J.H.
or one without the other
sat here and thought about each other
(or just one, about the other).
A heart ensnares them in decades-old commemoration—
forever lasts however long the letters stay legible.

Someone’s pulse tapped incessantly beneath their skin
as they wrote it, a tempo of you are alive you are
alive you are alive you are alive
you cannot die—
a big ol’ Fuck emblazoned on the Catholic school
playground slide.

R.P. really dug into that cement: here are the deep grooves
of an act of will aged fifty years,
of imposing oneself on the unyielding universe.
Tacked his nobody initials
to some nobody monument man and left
questions hanging in the air
like cartoon thought-bubbles—
at the very least,
he was here.

Author Portrait

Kimberly Ramos is a native of Central Missouri, which has a wealth of graffiti hidden in bathroom stalls, on sidewalks, and on playgrounds. She plans to enroll at Truman State University in the fall, and she looks forward to studying biology and creative writing. She is proud to call Watershed Review her first publication.