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previously published in The Rialto, 58,  Summer 2005


Wrong Man


Imagine youíre a priest

who comes across a girl

sobbing in a ginnel.

You say an arrow prayer,

gently move towards her.

Through her tears, she spots you

and goes hysterical.


Imagine youíre a teacher

teaching a boy

to bisect an angle.

Someone calls. You look

away. A pupil drives the point

of the compasses through

your upturned palm.


Imagine youíre an electrician

re-wiring the ceiling

of a nursing home.

A resident starts shaking

your step-ladder, yelling

I know thee what thou art.

Iíve seen your sort before!



Ed Reiss


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