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Rosa, By Rita Dove

July 04, 1999

How she sat there,

the time right inside a place

so wrong it was ready.

That trim name with

its dream of a bench

to rest on. Her sensible coat.

Doing nothing was the doing:

the clean flame of her gaze

carved by a camera flash.

How she stood up

when they bent down to retrieve

her purse. That courtesy.

From "On the Bus With Rosa Parks," by Rita Dove (W.W. Norton: 96 pp., $21)

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