George, Crossing Guard


You were sometimes slow, George, caught offguard
by my crisp clip as I approached your post

and hit the curb before you could shake out
your slouch and lift your red sign to stop

the traffic’s flow. So what? You always had
a quiet word, a smile for my serious

son in his stroller. Though I can’t say
I knew you, George, you likely weren’t

in the class this world considers gifted;
your acts must all have had the same slow,

ungraceful way about them. What of it, George?
If all you did until the day your heart

caught you offguard and felled you
was show up and do no harm, well sir,

that is a lesson that might give
the arms dealers, investment bankers

and plastic surgeons of America
pause, before they step out from the curb.

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