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October 29, 2000|Patricia Zontelli | From "Red Cross Dog: Poems" by Patricia Zontelli, (New Rivers Press: 84 pp., $12.95 paper)

The unpredictable happens

to ordinary beings like me; there is always that

element of chance. I know simple geometric shape

is inhuman; I know flocks of grape-

dark birds define the air, that the fog

is loaded down with mistrust--dialogue

constantly going forward / backward--words roam

around the room. I believe in the ghosts

that know they are dead, the ghosts

that know that are posthumously

needed. Treading water, I think I should

swim. Thrashing, kicking, I wish I could

return to the point where all I had to think

was float and I floated, dark birds in the blink

of air overhead--carefree but

stunning as letters of an unknown, fugitive alphabet.

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