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Poetry

What Harry Reid Taught Me
About Crossing the Street

Amy David

You must wait on the crumbling concrete, obeying the bright orange palm.
Note only the metal of what passes: a blue Nissan, a city bus,
a shiny white Hummer barreling through the intersection.

Do not look at the driver, never make eye contact, most of all, refuse
to see the little ones tucked into their car seats or decked out
in jerseys for Little League with their feet in the softest of cleats.

When the glowing figure invites you forward, look once more: to the left,
idlers, those too concerned with decorum to advance, to the right,
tailpipes sputtering that which has already happened.

Know your relative position.  It is polite to move through this quickly.
Polite does not buy attention.  Make your steps no longer than
your lines of reasoning.  And when the direction changes,

the panic rises in the flashing hands begging you to stop,
leap across the last few feet to the other side before
pretending you do not know how you got there.

If you get bumped a bit as you make that last surge, blame
it on the drivers, the maintenance crew, a stenographer down
in Carson City.  Anything but your own two feet.

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