Dollars to Doughnuts

The parishioners politely take
One doughnut each

And drop a dollar on the plate
Then solemn, sit and eat

Week in, week out, one doughnut and
One dollar, never more
And steaming instant coffee
And a chat, then out the door

But once a man came in the rain
He was not one of theirs
With sandals on his freezing feet
And dreadlocks in his hair

He smiled–so wide! And sidled in
He took his paper plate
And doughnuts, oh the doughnuts!!
Was it six or was it eight?

How dare he fill his backpack up?
How dare his body steam!
With sweat and rain and pungent smells
Like coffee mixed with cream.

He didn’t even go to Mass
Just sat and ate and ate
He scattered sprinkles everywhere
He did not bus his plate

He rolled his ragged pant legs up
And headed for the door
But stopped, and bowed his dreaded head
For something on the floor

A shining Lincoln penny
The young man grinned again
And turned to the collection plate
And proudly–popped it in.


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