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Civility
Brett Foster (bio)

Not managing fairly well or keeping
the bare minimum of a promise,

but biting deeply into the marrow
of what’s kind, hitting bulls-eyed rightness,

as with the window washers at work
at the children’s hospital, who repel

across the upper floors dressed up
as super heroes, or the work email

received just before the ice storm,
sent by the public-facilities office.

It warned of dangerous sidewalks,
offered to walk employees to their cars.

At the edge of a levee along the Lower
Mississippi, there is a leprosy hospital

where there is not yet enough love
and compassion among the claw hands,

comfort for severest discolorations.
Here too (we must believe), it’s only

a matter of time before maintenance
gives way to something far better,

until commendable but begrudging
function glitters with gaudy excess.

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