“William Head Penitentiary” by Allie McFarland

The picnic table, a husk

of cracked, salt-worn wood,

brittle onion-skin paint

branded by cuss words,

its struts bolted to concrete

too near a chain-link fence.


The lawn runs to the ocean,

leaps over pebbles and prairie dog holes

to the tide that drags the picnic table

toward the cruise ships

flaring like birthday candles.

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