Smoking, the crossing guard attends
With care her corner, Saturday night.
Floral housedress, vest of orange mesh,
Ping-pong paddle STOP sign, hand halt:
Civic pride with its signals crossed.
Fighting fatigue, she counts sheep to ten,
Backwards. Dreamy children skip behind
Her eyes, crossing trellised lines of paint.
Their tales out of school swirl and pool,
Prove asphalt’s less textured in evening.
Cut loose, some headlamps rush forward,
Mean machines meting out hard knocks.
Proctors prove useless; exams are done.
All of us know cheating runs rampant
Saturday nights, the kids safe at home.
Timothy Gray is the author of Gary Snyder and the Pacific Rim (2006) and Urban Pastoral (2010), both published by University of Iowa Press. He has new poems in Willows Wept Review, Pirene's Fountain, and Hobble Creek Review. Gray teaches at City University of New York.