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Group Four

81 Spider

82 Starfish

83 Stinkbug

84 Swallow

85 Termite

86 Tick

87 Toad

88 Turkey

89 Turtle

90 Unicorn

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I hesitate, Great God Up There,
Iím such a creep! But hear this prayer.
        I ask you: Are your records straight
        In judging ticksí eternal fate?
Remember, weíre those parasites
That include chiggers, nits and mites.
        (Too many, arenít we, Holy Maker?
        Sometimes 3 million to an acre!)
Confuse us not with folks around,
Whose names resemble ours in sound:
        Like hereTICS of some persuasion
        Or even mysTICS on occasion.
That coterie of near namesakes
Are rightly damned for their mistakes!
        We fret! Might we come to perdition
        For misperceived name recognition?
We know misguided heretics
Donít love the truth, like Catholics.
        And mystics often end in schism
        When they neglect their catechism.
Then ticks get daubed with the same paint
For things we never were and ainít!
        (Can one be sentenced to damnation
        For pure guilt-by-association?)
So please, dear God, donít mix our name
With wild freethinkers without shame.
        Youíll find us ticks believe and do
        Whatever Dogma says is true.

from the forthcoming book Prayers of 100 Animals A to Z, by William Cleary



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