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Paul Hostovsky


Meditation on the Concrete

There's no getting around the cement trucks
or the body, I'm thinking,
stuck inside a body in a car behind
a cement truck in a no passing zone.
                                              After all,
we live and die in these houses in these houses
which the cement trucks keep pouring—
basements and foundations of a nation
turning and turning in their round hind parts.
                                              They remind me of bees
coming and going on their errands of delivery,
somehow holding the whole scheme of things
together with their precious sticky cargo,
which after all is the main ingredient
of the concrete, the body being the essential
aggregate, I'm thinking,
as I roll along a little abstractedly
                                              at 15 mph.
A moment ago I was gnashing my teeth,
I was taking my life in my hands and trying to pass,
but now I prefer to resign myself to the world
turning—to resign myself to myself
because there's no getting around me,
and I prefer to sit back and try to remember
something I read once about the bumblebee
from the point of view of aerodynamics,
something of an improbablility
when you consider its size, its weight,
its tiny unlikely wings—it shouldn't fly.
                                              Yet it does.
Defying the odds, defying
physics, it bumbles but it goes.
And this giant red-striped one churning and buzzing
in front of me, rumbling among the BMWs,
SUVs and Thickly Settled signs,
it's returning to its nest behind those trees
where the whole fleet goes to sleep each night
in a tidy row just off route 109.
                                              I'm following
the thought of the bumblebee to other thoughts,
resting on some, tasting, testing,
passing on others, finally coming around to
the thought of me, mankind—
there's no getting around us—
another kind of improbability
when you consider our size, our shape,
our hairless skinny mass—
we should have died off long ago.
                                              Yet we fly.
And we drive around in these bodies
in these cars turning and turning
and mixing up in our heads
all of the world's thoughts—
sucking them up with our fore parts,
digesting and converting them
into the glass cities of dreams
that never quite get off the ground,
though they seem to rise up before our eyes
and we lose them in the clouds.



Pop Flies

I'm hitting a few pop flies to my friend Richard
when along comes Stephen Cutler, the toughest kid
in the neighborhood, walking his Doberman pinscher.
He asks me gruffly for a turn at bat, and the Doberman
growls. So I motion to Richard out in left field
to move farther back. Then I silently surrender
the bat and the ball. A wind dies on the schoolyard.

He tosses the ball up, swings at the exact second
that the Doberman, sniffing a game, jumps for the ball
and catches the bat in its head. Suddenly there's blood
everywhere—the Doberman's seizing, dying, Cutler's crying,
and Richard, running for help, is growing smaller and smaller
like he's chasing a pop fly sailing over his head,
over the fences, houses, treetops—a pop fly, flying.


Paul Hostovsky has poems in Poet Lore, New Delta Review, Shenandoah, Carolina Quarterly, and others. He has two poetry chapbooks, Bird in the Hand (Grayson Books, 2006), and Dusk Outside the Braille Press (Riverstone Press, 2006). He works in Boston as an interpreter for the deaf.

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