Rita Dove – Pedestrian Crossing, Charlottesville

Rita Frances Dove (August 28, 1952 -)

A gaggle of girls giggle over the bricks
leading off Court Square. We brake
dutifully, and wait; but there’s at least
twenty of these knob-kneed creatures,
blond and curly, still at an age that thinks
impudence is cute. Look how they dart
and dither, changing flanks as they lurch
along—golden gobbets of infuriating foolishness
or pure joy, depending on one’s disposition.
At the moment mine’s sour—this is taking
far too long; don’t they have minders?
Just behind my shoulder in the city park
the Southern general still stands, stonewalling us all.
When I was their age I judged Goldilocks
nothing more than a pint-size criminal
who flounced into others’ lives, then
assumed their clemency. Unfair,
I know, my aggression—to lump them
into a gaggle (silly geese!) when all
they’re guilty of is being young. So far.