What Would Jesse Do

Across the rusted railings of Budgewoi Bridge
—those rails on your left when walking south
for fish and chips or a schooner at the pub—
the four words WHAT WOULD JESSE DO 
appear if you stand at the right distance
and squint. Some days the blotchy block
lettering is barely discernible: sediment

settling to the bottom of a suspended
steel lake. No, I don’t know any Jesse
who lives in Budgewoi and am shocked
graffiti artists around here are familiar
with Charles Sheldon. White speckles
along the footpath suggest leaky spray
cans or a shaky novice hand and stop

short where that crack in the concrete
fans out like a fern to form little knots
of varicose veins. Oh, the question mark?
Maybe Jesse considers them redundant.
Maybe its omission makes a statement.
Maybe by chance a cop car’s approach
startled him so much that he jumped off

the bridge without checking punctuation
and slunk away soaking wet down Ocean
or up Boomerang. He was likely confined
to bed with Pelican Itch until deep pangs
of creative doubt hospitalised his vocation
as a graffitist. Even non-believers believe 
such a godless pun secures Jesse eternity

in hell for evoking Christ in Budgewoi
just to displace him. Yes, I know council
is halfway through putting its final coat 
on the northbound railing and must cross
soon to the other side. A decade will pass
between the skatepark and caravan park
before you ask, ‘WHAT DID JESSE DO?

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