It had been, indeed almost constantly so,
Spotted and dotted with the odd bit of graffiti:
Hastily spray-painted citing of some school’s graduating class,
Irregularly shaped hearts bearing initials of couples
Whose undying fealty would not last the summer,
The odd cartoon figure, its subject occasionally discernible
But what had appeared on the old Buffalo-and-Boston railroad bridge
Was a different animal altogether,
Painstakingly crafted brushstrokes crossing t’s and gently rounding o’s,
The entire length spanning Route 20
Marked with a simple admonition—Just Love.
The DOT crew, adequately supplied with power washers and gray paint
And sufficiently featherbedded with summer help,
Sauntered in after the weekend to restore the overpass
To something akin to pristine condition,
But one of the summer kids (an accounting major
From the state school over in Cobleskill,
Probably knew who’d written this in the first place)
Hesitated before pulling the trigger on a sprayer.
Boss, he grumbled, It just don’t feel right blasting this off.
The foreman sighed (his disdain for the temp help
Bordering on downright mania most days)
I feel ya, kid, but the time to love yer fellow man
Is all off the clock.