Afternoon Poem, November 24, 2014



The Crossing Guard



The calendar says it is still autumn

But this morning has winter written all over it

Cold, windy, raw

I scrape the windshield and head for work

This time on the old road

I don’t know why.


It’s a mistake, I soon find out

because I am earlier than usual

I get stuck in traffic in the three school zones

That the old road passes through.


Idling and steaming

I decide to calm myself

Rome will not fall in the seven minutes this pause will cost me.


I am at at dead stop as the huge, yellow bus waits to turn left

Into the lot of the elementary school.


I spot the crossing guard

And think at first she must be a volunteer

Some first-grader’s mother

But in moments I am sure that this guard

Is a young teacher.


Pretty, and dressed for the day

a fine, ample, winter coat

and a long, wool scarf

perfectly folded and draped

everything matched.


The bus finally turns in and

She walks into the traffic

lifting her safety sign.


In the car before me

a little girl disembarks

dwarfed by the army of idling machines.

She runs to the crosswalk

looks at the guard

and then walks deliberately

through the parted sea of chrome and steel.


As she reaches the middle of the road

She shows me that something,

At least one thing,

Is right with the world.


She gives the crossing guard a fist bump

then runs inside the schoolhouse.


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1 Response to Afternoon Poem, November 24, 2014

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