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Crossing Guard

Honorable Mention 2014 Poetry Contest

when you die
this lady named alice
but probably karen
walks you across the street

she’s wearing an orange stocking cap
white sam browne belt and black galoshes
she carries a stop sign
a giant red ping pong paddle

she looks left and right then left again
holds up her sign to fend off traffic
then delivers you just short of the other side
safe with your classmates

to where maybe your house is
or apartment complex
or the laundromat
where you wait for your father

then she says your name
like oh max I didn’t see you there
have a great day and say hi
to your mom for me okay?

then alice heads back for the next batch
and you think to yourself oh geez
I hope I didn’t forget my history book again

and that’s pretty much it
you see when you die
this lady named alice
but probably Karen
shepherds you across the street 


Bruce Dethlefsen was the Wisconsin Poet Laureate from 2010-2012. A retired educator and public library director living in Westfield, Dethlefsen began his two-year term as Wisconsin Poet Laureate at the beginning of 2011.

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