“Statement” by Paul Hostovsky


When they asked me why I stole the flute I said
because it was beautiful
leaning there against the wall like a spine
seductively, and gleaming

within easy reach of my single
paid for seat
where I sat all alone admiring it
as the orchestra warmed up and the scales of the flutes

climbed higher than all the rest of the instruments,
reaching up even to the chandeliers
where they seemed to be warning of some danger, of me perhaps

for I’d already made up my mind what I would say
when they asked me why I stole the flute.

Then they asked me why I returned the flute and I said
because it hurt, it was that beautiful, that
impossible. Sharp like a spine–

the keys at first digging into my skin
when I slipped it under my shirt as the lights dimmed,
then ran with it out the door and down the street and through

the night. But also, from the moment I lifted the thing
I couldn’t put it down: wherever I tried
to stash it or ditch it, it stuck out painfully

like some herniated part of the body
of beauty, the inner beauty of the world: secret, silver
and singing out from the enclosure of

my desire for it. I couldn’t keep it, I couldn’t lose it,
I couldn’t even play it. So I gave it back and now

I only want to be believed.



Paul Hostovsky has new poems appearing or forthcoming in Free Lunch, New Delta Review, Bryant Literary Review, Visions International, Nebo, Slant, FRiGG, Driftwood, Heartlodge, Rock & Sling, ByLine and others. He works in Boston as an Interpreter for the Deaf.