Tony Gloeggler


Larry turned eighteen
in May. He knows
what red and green mean,
walks to the corner
and looks both ways.
Today, he’s on his own
for the first time.
He walks out the door.
I count to thirty, follow.
Hidden behind the stoop,
I watch him. Head down,
hands deep in pockets,
he drags his feet,
twirls on one foot
every twenty steps,
then bends and pulls up
his socks. He turns
the corner. I run down
the block, duck behind
a black Cadillac
When he reaches the curb,
I sneak closer, crouch
in the hardware store’s
doorway. Larry lifts
his head, sees a red
light. His lips quiver,
right hand karate chops
his open left palm.
I recognize the sign
for stop, whisper
“Good.” Larry looks up
and the light’s green.
His right fist winds
around his clenched left
hand, tells him to walk.
He checks for cars, half
runs across Bergen Street.
Safe, Larry pirouettes
and faces me. He bows
at the waist, straightens

up, yells “Okay Tony”
and laughs out loud.


Tony Gloeggler is a native of NYC and manages group homes for the developmentally disabled in Brooklyn. His books include the two full-length collections One Wish Left (Pavement Saw Press, 2000) which went into a second edition and The Last Lie (NYQ Books 2010). “Crossing” is part of his next collection Until the Last Light Leaves.