Skip to main content

End Road Work, a poem by David J. Bauman

End Road Work

A line of traffic cones arcs
toward the berm, where an orange
sign reads “End Road Work.”

Good idea, I think. This fixing things
is getting in the way of doing them.
Hard to get somewhere when your path

is constantly in repair. And anyway,
lately things have been fixing themselves.
The car stopped making that noise.

The birdbath stopped leaking.
And I’ve finally started sleeping
more than just an hour at a time.

But I don’t want to think about what’s
really going on. That the squeaky piece
is quiet now because it fell off

somewhere along the road, and the whole
driveshaft is just waiting to drop out.
That crack in the birdbath is plugged

with built-up rust and crud. Rest-
less bodies will run out of fuel
eventually. I’m grateful for the sleep.

There is no end to roadwork.
But I know nothing about tarmac
or car parts. When your child is so hurt

that he lies down in the street, what tool
or piece can mend the break? If I clean
the bird bath, it will start to leak again.

When gravel is the skin you wear, it is no
wonder, this instinct to lie down, to make
a road of us, and let the world drive over.

David J. Bauman is the author of two poetry chapbooks, most recently, Angels & Adultery, selected by Nickole Brown for the Robin Becker Series (Seven Kitchens Press, 2018). He has new poems published or forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Watershed Review, Citron Review, and Third Wednesday. His recent poetry reviews have appeared in Windhover and Whale Road Review. A resident of Pennsylania, he attended IWU in Marion where his first son was born.