“Denial” by Paul Hostovsky


When I was small I had this fear of big
dogs turning up round bends and corners, hounds
that all along the long and convoluted zig-
zag way I walked 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 ti 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–the jowls and drool and halitosis.
Denial, perfected, is a faith that works. Take St. Stephen
full of arrows, take the Gnostics full of gnosis.
We sang out sweetly who denied, though we breathed in
dog breath.



Paul Hostovsky has new poems appearing or forthcoming in Free Lunch, New
Delta Review, Bryant Literary Review, Visions International, Nebo, Slant, FRiGG, Driftwood, Heartlodge, Rock & Sling, ByLine
and others. He works in Boston as an Interpreter for the Deaf.