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THE SAINTS OF DIMINISHED CAPACITY

At seven a.m., the residents
of Community House walk single file
to the bus stop across from campus.
I watch from beneath an open window
where a piano student is washing
the air with something Hungarian.
Some of them hold hands, these plain
beatitudes, but their leader
(whose sad, pinched face looms over
a dark coat) totes a dinner pail,
and one girl carries her dress's lap
as if she were gathering apples.

The bus won't stop unless they're at curbside,
waiting like mailboxes. But now
one man hears music, starts to spin
like a dreidel. Then another. The leader
hits them to make them stop, but soon
they all are spinning, laughing and falling
on grass — except for the girl, who,
in the lap of her outstretched dress,
catches seeds twirling from a maple tree.



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