When I was small I had this fear of big
dogs turning up round bends and corners, hounds
that all along the long and desultory zig-
zag way I traveled home from school to confound them,
found me. Always. I had but one defense
which I learned from Winnie the Pooh: simply hum
a little tune. It throws them off the scent
of your fear. Pretend to consider the weather. Tum tee tum.
Denial, that old sweet song in the face of death,
it's always been the way to go, even
in the mouth of death, in the jowls and drool and halitosis.
Denial, perfected, is a faith that works. Take St. Stephen
full of arrows, or the Gnostics full of gnosis.
We sing out sweetly who deny, though we breathe in dog-breath.


Paul Hostovsky



bird of paradise flower