They are tearing up the sidewalk,
block by block and square
by crumbling square. Tomorrow
or the next day Traci will be gone –
her name scratched in wet cement
when the pavement was new,
survivor of a thousand baby carriages,
ten thousand joggers, a million
hopscotch games -- sledgehammered down
to rebar and gravel, replaced.
How long have they named
girls Traci – thirty years, forty?
She can´t be so old; maybe
she´s shown this sidewalk to her children
when they come to visit Grandma.
Now they won´t find
a trace of Traci.
But you know the kind of kid she was:
no careful handprint here,
no neat parental dateline, just "Traci"
in a fast popsicle-stick scrawl;
see her run off flushed and giggling
across a vacant lot
before the foreman gets wise.
And if she didn´t make her mark here
once and for all, what of it?
Go back and speak to her, tell her
to etch her name on trophies,
sign it on canvas, print it in books,
paint it gold on a glass door.
Go back and say to her,
Traci, don’t stop.