“Crossing” By Tony Gloeggler



Larry turned eighteen
in May. He knows
what red and green mean,
walks to the corner
and looks both ways.
Today, he’s on his own
for the first time.
He walks out the door.
I count to thirty, follow.
Hidden behind the stoop,
I watch him. Head down,
hands deep in pockets,
he drags his feet,
twirls on one foot
every twenty steps,
then bends and pulls up
his socks. He turns
the corner. I run down
the block, duck behind
a black Cadillac.
When he reaches the curb,
I sneak closer, crouch
in the hardware store’s
doorway. Larry lifts
his head, sees a red
light. His lips quiver,
right hand karate chops
his open left palm.
I recognize the sign
for stop, whisper
“Good.” Larry looks up
and the light’s green.
His right fist winds
around his clenched left
hand, tells him to walk.
He checks for cars, half
runs across Bergen Street.
Safe, Larry pirouettes
and faces me. He bows
at the waist, straightens
up, yells “Okay Tony”
and laughs out loud.


This poem first appeared in Mudfish


About Tony Gloeggler: I am a life-long resident of New York City and have managed group homes for the mentally challenged for over 35 years. My work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Rattle, The Examined Life Journal, Raleigh Review, New Ohio Review, Stirring and The NY Times. My full length books include One Wish Left (Pavement Saw Press 2002) and Until The Last Light Leaves (NYQ Books 2015) which focused on my job and the autistic son of a former girlfriend. My next book, What Kind Of Man, will be published by NYQ Books in 2019.


Image Credit: photo by Renee Bieretz, from The Library of Congress

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