Lesson Plan: Crossing at an All-Way Stop

For a Blind 7th Grader

Jenny follows the buzz of power lines
and the gurgle of the storm drain
to the all-way stop, one block from school.

Today she’ll prove to her mobility teacher—
whose footsteps are close behind—that she
can ace the lesson. Her cane slides

off the first curb, but a mower blasts her ears;
Go away, she says. I can’t hear if cars
are coming. When it’s quiet, she steps down,

feels the crown of the street rise and fall
before reaching the other side. On the fourth
crossing, she completes the circuit,

marching over asphalt, but misses
the next sidewalk, her cane snagging
on a thicket of grass. Jenny reaches left,

more grass, right, still the cane gets tangled.
She stalls and turns away from her teacher.
Thumping, then panting, announce

a big dog approaching; it brushes her legs.
Jenny bends down, sweeping her fingers
through curls of fur, the inside layers

still moist from the rain that fell earlier.
Breathing in the damp smell, she strokes
the dog again and again, welcoming

the distraction. The animal trots off,
its nails clicking on the sidewalk.
Is it the walk leading back to school?

Jenny trails behind the nice dog, hoping
to reach her school building—praying to hear
echoes reflected by her tapping cane.

Sally Vogl