Poems by Paul Hostovsky


The Story of the World


Praise the im-
provised, the im-
perfect, the jerry-
rigged, the jerry-
built, praise Jerry, who-
ever he was, a lands-
man after my own inept
broken heart,
which I keep trying to fix
with a little duct tape
and Elmer’s glue.
Praise Elmer, praise
the tacky, tottering half-
assed job, the un-
professional, the un-
reliable, the unstable and
unsound. Praise
all the safety pins
and paper clips
and staples holding the story
of the world together,
a story that doesn’t hold up,
with its impossible plot
and vast cast of rickety,
flawed characters,
every last one of them un-




I could do without the world.
Just give me a letter
about the world,
one that I could
fold up in a pocket
and carry around with me
in the world
and take it out now and then
and pore over it
and weep over it,
tasting the salt tears
as I fold it up and put it away again–
a letter I’ve read so many times
I’ve memorized it
so I don’t really need
the moist, creased, crumpled
disappearing thing itself
in my hands anymore
because it’s in my head now.
And yet if I ever lost it
I’d be lost.


Paul Hostovsky has been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac. He has won a Pushcart Prize, two Best of the Net Awards, and the FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize. His latest book is DEAF & BLIND (Main Street Rag, 2020). He makes his living in Boston as a sign language interpreter. www.paulhostovsky.com



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