For Carol Houck Smith
Earlier, a slow child in the vicinity
of a Slow Children sign, a boy
just taking his time, his bookbag
weighing him down, and now --
driving past Caution: Falling
Rock Zone - an actual fallen rock
right in the middle of the Interstate!
I call 911, report it - the danger -
one loose rock suggesting many,
some hard hilltop family of them
finally about to become unglued.
I say the signs have started to come true,
and laugh, but the operator is serious,
only wants to know where, and who.
I give her the where she needs
and drive on, who I am,
I'm sure, of no importance here.
Outside of Frostburg I exit and stop
at Stop, then at red stop again,
remembering those few times
late at night -- because I'm careful
about my braveries -
when I've gunned it,
went right on through.
Truth is, I'd be happy in this world
to be quietly significant
like a good editor.
I'd like to improve Slow Children,
for example, by putting in
that comma where it belongs.
I'm almost home. The increase in Jesus
bumper stickers has been telling me so.
At Finzel near Little Savage in big letters
at the end of a driveway: Beware Dog,
and there he is, the Beware Dog
halfway between the house and the road,
sleeping or waiting, I'll never know.