To a Fellow Crossing Guard on Fairhaven

Section 8C.03 of the Elderberry Uniform Traffic Code states:
“Adult crossing guards shall not direct traffic
in the usual law enforcement regulatory sense.”
Not a week goes by when one of us hasn’t felt the impulse
to direct peoples’ traffic, cars coming and going.

But you would tell us it was a waste of energy, to fret,
since most people, whether at home or at work,
weren’t allowed to direct traffic either,
and not just in the “regulatory sense.”
Born assistants, you’d say, or was it condemned to assist?

The important thing was to walk others
across a path they needed to go.
And it’s true.
We walk the same fifty feet across
The Macadam Styx, a STOP paddle held high,
and it’s no different from the rivers and tunnels
our adult children wade through each day.
A strangers’ commute.
Except we’re presently engaged:
no radio distraction, no books on blank stares
just a radiant octagon smile.
Guiding these children—Oliver, Udaya, Ryan,
Gracie, Emory, Maru, Sibel—
safely across,

these sidewalk-ends,
where not so long ago, our own Sarahs, our Michaels,
Henrys and Samanthas were etching their names
as king and queen for a day, afterschool Crayola
thick, purple chalk the size of cucumbers.
Hop-scotch royalty, our kids,
finding nickels and knick-knacks burrowed
beneath a sidewalk’s crevice.
At all times supervised.

Our boys, doing the work of the wind,
kicked a swirl of leaves through make-believe goalposts
a flutter of yellows, orange and red singed into our sky
drizzling, drizzling everywhere.
We watched our girls shepherd petals and leaves
across an open pavement, back then.
Dragging a stick.
Laughter and running.
And we watched them grow below our whistles and signs,
wherever they should go.

About the Author:
Jamez Chang is a poet, writer, lawyer, and former hip-hop artist living in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in FRiGG, Prime Number, Boston Literary Magazine, Subliminal Interiors, The Sim Review, Quail Bell Magazine, Marco Polo, and the anthology Yellow Light. After graduating from Bard College, Jamez went on to become the first Korean-American to release a hip-hop album, Z-Bonics (F.O.B. Productions, 1998), in the United States. Jamez currently works in the video game industry in New York.