I like it here. The focus isn’t
on the bottom line here. I can
focus on the penultimate line
or any line I like, read it out loud
and the doc says “good” and I feel
good about it even if I get it
wrong. Because the way I see it
is what’s important here. He doesn’t
correct me when I recite my chosen line,
he just listens, quietly, attentively
(I think he knows them all by heart),
then asks me if I think I like it better
with this one, or with that one. It’s all about
which one I prefer here in the dark,
with a place to rest my chin, me and the doc
talking in a code of numbers and letters
in a whisper almost, close enough to touch,
close enough to hear each other breathing
on either side of this wonderful machine
whose name I don’t know but trust he must,
and so I just go right on focusing on
which one I like best, while he focuses
on making something out of it for me. I could
do this all day long. It reminds me
of childhood—what childhood ought to be:
questions concerning your favorites,
painless and gentle, someone tying your shoe
while you sit in a chair thinking of other
things. But all good things must come to
the light, which he turns on with his foot.
And it feels like the dance in the gym ending
promptly at ten, the lights coming on abruptly,
something unbelievably sweet in the dark
vanishing underneath the looming backboards.




Paul Hostovsky is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Hurt Into Beauty (2012, FutureCycle Press). His poems have won a Pushcart Prize and been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and Best of the Net 2008 and 2009.  To read more of his work, visit him at Paul Hostovsky






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