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to make space for the new. They say the dropped ones will come true. Th stranger’s lateness worries those who wait. Someone says she’s searching for a word to complete a special sentence, the gift she’ll bring to town. Another wonders if she seeks a verb or a noun, and offers to find her. A third warns that the stranger may turn him, with one touch, into a flower that blooms for only an instant before it withers and dies, her circle throbbing with songs that cause sadness and elation, and something so obscure no one has a name for it. Will she complete a verb or a noun phrase – or go solo, a word complete on its own? They wonder. When they finally hear footsteps, They know the stranger must be near. Make sure the gate is open, they remind one another. They hear clinking – A bracelet? A chain?

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