“Adopt a Highway” & “The Next Small Thing”

long stretch of highway with mountains in the distance

Adopt a highway

I hope that when I die
My old pals and chums
Will adopt a highway
A stretch of two-lane road
Somewhere out in countryside I loved
Where they will meet
Once a month
To collect roadside detritus
And reminisce about
What a pretty good fellow I was

The Department of Transportation
Will place a sign on the shoulder:
Litter Control Next 2 Miles
Friends of Buff Bradley
Which is all the memorial I need
Or want

These cleanups will go on
For perhaps a year
Fewer people showing up each time
Because of
You know
Other obligations
Until the last two agree
That a drink together
Once in a while
Would be a whole lot easier
Although they will never actually get around to it

My sign will come down
Stored in some dim back corner
Of a shed in the county maintenance yard
With all the other signs
Awaiting resurrection
Or reincarnation
Depending upon their affiliations
And a new sign
Will appear:
Litter Control Next 2 Miles
Bitsy’s Kut ‘n Kurl
Which a motorist who drives past regularly
Will notice one morning
And will ask himself
Didn’t there used to be
A different name up there?
Although he won’t be able to recall
Who it was


The next small thing

Unlike the Next Big Thing
That everyone is waiting for
To revolutionize
For the umpteenth time
The way we conduct
The same old business
The next small one
A whiff of onion grass
The whispered arrival of light
From the Pleiades
The streak and cry
Of a kingfisher above a pond
Will change nothing at all
Although it will encourage you
To unhook that bucket of lead
That hangs from the chain
In your heart
And to stop for a while
By the side of the road
For a cool drink of water

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