Friday, September 23, 2011

No hurry, no linger

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Old Man Crossing

Up ahead, the light turns yellow and I begin
to slow knowing I’ll catch the whole red.
A gray-haired man with a cane steps down
off the curb and makes his way toward the
other side. He moves as slow and steady as
seven or more decades have made him, no
hurry, no linger, as he sights the other side
midway through both the traverse and the
automatic countdown, 8, 7, 6, flashing in
red numbers on the pedestrian indicator sign
denoting time remaining to safely cross, 5,
4, 3, never looking up or to the side, entirely
missing my patient and ageheld regard of him,
2, 1, 0 as he arrives at the high curb, lifts his
heavy leg, steadies balance with his cane and
stops a moment to look back across such asphalt
treachery, turns to regain his directional objective,
and begins to move again as I am released by the
green to make my way to wherever life may take
me by chance or design, behind him, perhaps, by
by some invisible path through time that will set
me to a steady countdown, 60, 70, 80, head down,
looking neither left nor right, making my way,
tap by tap, slowly to the other side of the street.

Joseph Gallo
September 17, 2011


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