Interstate by J.D. Smith







Most take the ramp for common needs
like heeding nature’s urgent call.
No matter where the journey leads,
though, for some reason exit all,

Like getting out to have a bite
And stretch their legs, to toss a ball,
To find a cheap bed for the night
And wi-fi, maybe. Exit all,

Including those who stop for vice,
Cheap smokes, fireworks and alcohol
On frontage roads known to entice
The strongest traveler. Exit all.

Most head for some more wholesome spot—
South of the Border, Drug (of Wall),
And Hershey, too, can get a lot
Of visitors, who exit all.

Some get back on the open road,
There’s folks to see and freight to haul,
But they, too, mind the highway’s code,
Sooner or later, exit all.

J.D. Smith has published six collections of poetry, most recently the light verse collection Catalogs for Food LoversHis other books include the 2022 fiction collection Transit. Smith works in Washington, DC, where he lives with his wife Paula Van Lare and their rescue animals. Occasional updates are available at

Image: Famartin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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