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--- S T E P H E N   D U N N

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.

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