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Teaching My Mother to Jaywalk

by Lois June Wickstrom

(This poem is in My Mama Always Said, which is for sale on my Amazon page)


“How could you?” asked my mother.
She raised me to be moral and follow
the laws -- which are not the same thing
as only crossing at the corners when lights
are green -- with approval from the state.

Okay -- I jaywalked across stalled
traffic in front of a police car
happily all the while telling my mother
about how police cars speed the wrong
way down my one-way street.

“So they started it” she said with
her usual sarcasm for tattling.
Yet she took a lover without
a license after my father left
and likes it better than marriage.

Red lights don’t stop
me from thinking --
She was proud of me when I protested war
Now she follows me across the street
and nobody gets hurt