“Conditional” by Paul Hostovsky

(photograph by cole rise)

What if
this well-dressed man
exiting that magnificent
glass building
and walking toward that expensive
car with the livery plates
waiting for him at the curb
suddenly began
on the sidewalk
in the middle of
his excellent
tie flapping in the breeze,
his face and posture
betraying a powerlessness
over this mournful
necessary stream
as it dies in a dribble
at his feet…
You might think
it was a bladder condition,
or a prostate condition,
or a moral condition—
but you would never guess
that it’s a fairy tale
glass buildings,
expensive cars,
excellent grammars
and legal instruments
this well-dressed man,
not bothering
to shake himself dry
in the middle
of everything,
ducks into his pumpkin coach
and goes speeding off down
Wall Street,
into his own



Paul Hostovsky has long and generously contributed poetry to r.kv.r.y. His poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac; and published in Carolina Quarterly, Shenandoah, New Delta Review, Atlanta Review, Poetry East, and many other journals and anthologies. He won the Comstock Review‘s Muriel Craft Bailey Award in 2001, as well as chapbook contests from Grayson Books, Riverstone Press, Frank Cat Press, and Split Oak Press. He has two full-length poetry collections, Bending the Notes (2008), and Dear Truth (2009), both from Main Street Rag. Paul’s poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize 13 times, and won one once. He makes his living in Boston as an interpreter at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing where he specializes in working with the deaf-blind.