Monuments for a Friendly Girl at a Tenth Grade Party

The only relics left are those long
spangled seconds our school clock chipped out
when you crossed the social hall
and we found each other alive,
by our glances never to accept our town's
ways, torture for advancement,
nor ever again be prisoners by choice.

Now I learn you died
serving among the natives of Garden City,
Kansas, part of a Peace Corps
before governments thought of it.

Ruth, over the horizon your friends eat
foreign chaff and have addresses like titles,
but for you the crows and hawks patrol
the old river. May they never
forsake you, nor you need monuments
other than this I make, and the one
I hear clocks chip in that world we found.

William Stafford, “Monuments for a Friendly Girl at a Tenth Grade Party” from Stories That Could Be True (New York: Harper & Row, 1977). Copyright © 1977 by William Stafford. Reprinted with the permission of Kim Stafford.
Source: Stories That Could Be True (Harper & Row, 1977)
More Poems by William E. Stafford