They must think I don’t belong here
as I walk across their campus, me,
too old to be a student. Who am I kidding?
Too old to be on faculty. One by one,

I pass them, their eyes feet-fixed
as though the ground might erupt. I’m guessing
they’ve been told to ignore all strangers.
At the Billy Graham Center, I turn left.

In these fear-pitched, hoax-stoked times,
it’s no wonder people are suspicious.
What’s he doing here? they think.
What does he want from me? Then,

a half-mile from my sister-in-law’s house,
a school crossing guard—not a kid in sight—
walks into the street, smiles, says, “Hold on,”
and raises her Stop sign to help me.


Mark Williams’s poems have appeared in “The RavensPerch,” “The Southern Review,” “Rattle,” “Nimrod,” and other journals. His fiction has appeared in “Eclectica,” “Cleaver,” “BULL,” and elsewhere. His stories are forthcoming in “The Main Street Rag,” “Valparaiso Fiction Review,” and a Running Wild Press anthology. He lives in Evansville, Indiana.