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
The bus finally turns in and
She walks into the stalled 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.