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“Crossing Guards on Fairhaven” Appears in The Sim Review—April 2013

April 2, 2013

When I was six, my brother told me to forget about piggy-banks and focus instead on the magic vault.

"Daring us to Glide" © Mike Marshall

“Daring us to Glide” © Mike Marshall

The magic vault had lots more dimes and nickles, half-dollar JFKs and Susan B. Anthonys. All I had to do was twist a metal house key to open. Just stick that key in the wall socket over there, James, and you’ll find your treasure.

Would’ve been nice if “Ms. Simko” were around to say, Stop! Pull back that hand, young man! 115-volts-through-my-nervous-system-later, and I’ve forgiven my brother, but still get paranoid about the currents I can’t stop.

Issue 19 of The Sim Review Features "Crossing Guards on Fairhaven," by Jamez Chang

“Crossing Guards on Fairhaven” © Jamez Chang

The traffic on an average street corner, for a child, must look like a whiz of electrons traveling on asphalt wire. Cars, motorcycles, and trucks transporting energy at 35, more like 50 mph—when the light stays green. And if it weren’t for Helen, or Rose or Virginia or Constance, I might’ve been running like a gander through traffic, clucking for tennis balls. Pitching for a tossed quarter that rolled onto the street.

My daughter Abbie at six

My daughter Abbie at six

Our kids own a borrow-based judgment. Experience hasn’t taught them not to run the red lights or jimmy a house-key socket. Everything is still opportunity-crystal. Point and click at the light. But for that walking decision—crossing the macadam Styx along a dangerous current—I’m glad our kids can still rely on more than a “Button Cross.” 

"Button Cross" © Jamez Chang

“Button Cross” © Jamez Chang; Poem/Photo Appears in Menacing Hedge—Spring 2013

And I’m grateful to a Ms. “Helen Simko” for wrenching back a collar one day.

"Helen Simko" Original Artwork by Erie Chang © Erie Chang

“Helen Simko” Original Artwork by Erie Chang © Erie Chang

Publication Notes: “Crossing Guards on Fairhaven” is the second of a two-part set. The poem “To a Fellow Crossing Guard on Fairhaven” appeared in The Poydras Review in March 2013. Special thanks to poet, writer, and editor of The Sim Review, Elle Pryor, for her support. Thanks to writers Sakinah HoflerIan CaskeyDoris Vila Licht, and Sylvia Schwartz for assisting me with an early draft. Finally, a gentle bow to the crossing guards of my youth, and to those who stand a street corner now. Nothing less than our modern-day shepherds.

  1. More marvelous. Everything you post is crisp with inspiration and art. Thanks for this!

  2. vivipix permalink

    You bear witness with so much tenderness, Jamez. Thank you thank you.

  3. This is treasure. You are the key, Jamez. Wonderful work.

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