Paul Hostovsky


Paul Hostovsky is the author of nine books of poetry, most recently Is That What That Is (FutureCycle Press, 2017). He makes his living in Boston as an ASL interpreter and Braille instructor. Source


Bear with me I

want to tell you

something about


it’s hard to get at

but the thing is

I wasn’t looking

I was looking

somewhere else

when my son found it

in the fruit section

and came running

holding it out

in his small hands

asking me what

it was and could we

keep it it only

cost 99 cents

hairy and brown

hard as a rock

and something swishing

around inside

and what on earth

and where on earth

and this was happiness

this little ball

of interest beating

inside his chest

this interestedness

beaming out

from his face pleading


and because I wasn’t

happy I said

to put it back

because I didn’t want it

because we didn’t need it

and because we didn’t need it

and because he was happy

he started to cry

right there in aisle

five so when we

got it home we

put it in the middle

of the kitchen table

and sat on either

side of it and began

to consider how

to get inside of it





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Childhood & Coming of Age

Joy & Praise

Poems of the Everyday

Literary Devices:


the absence of a conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so…) between phrases and within a sentence


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line

Extended Metaphor

a metaphor that extends through several lines or even an entire poem


the repetition of conjunctions frequently and in close proximity in a sentence


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”