At dusk along a sparsely travelled road, a flock of sparrow hawks alights
from a hedgerow, rises, curves, forms a perfect question mark in the
last light of day. The flock turns to another sign or cipher or diacritical
mark, then disappears into a blend of shadows and leaves. Down the
road a picture of Christ on the cross is being hung in a child’s bedroom.
The furniture is spare and the blood runs down the wound in his side.
Someday the child will wonder why we do this to our gods, and he’ll have
such a revulsion for the furniture of his childhood that he vows never to
possess anything that mimics the early years of his life. He will live on a
well-traveled street where pilgrims envy the blood loss to get there
Dale Ritterbusch is the author of two collections of poetry, Lessons Learned (1995) and Far From the Temple of Heaven (2005). He is a Professor of Languages and Literatures at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he teaches creative writing and literature. Currently he is the Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of English & Fine Arts at the United States Air Force Academy.