Rasma Haidri

You will be born this day,
because across the road

a man with one leg
is mowing his lawn,

and the students leaving school
don't laugh at him,

or stand around smoking,
but stroll in small groups,

some of them on skateboards
listening to walkmen,

some walking backwards
to keep a conversation going,

all of them carrying small red bibles
handed out by Gideons,

old men in sky-blue suits
who pile like clowns from a tiny car

then stagger forth, arms outstretched
like toddlers offering testaments —  

and the teens smile thanks,
and do not throw the books on the ground,

or at the one-legged man mowing his lawn,
but cup them in their palms,

like flames in the crowning
summer afternoon.

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