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Fall 2013 Poetry

Dale Ritterbausch

TIPPING POINT

Dale Ritterbausch
CIPHER

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

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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.