The 2River View

Paul Hostovsky


In the dream you said, “I love
this time of day — it’s called the cholera.”
I said I thought the cholera was a disease.
You said, “It is a disease but it’s also
a time of day.” There was no dictionary
in the dream. And we were sitting outside
at a café or a hospital. You asked if I’d read
Love in the Time of Cholera, and I said
I started it once, but never got past the first
50 pages. And you said, “That explains it.”
I wondered if you meant the book explains
the time of day you love and why it’s called
the cholera, or if you meant something else,
something about me and the way I am, namely,
someone who can’t get past the first 50 pages
of a book you love. Which would mean
something else entirely. And then I said,
"I think cholera is one of those words that,
if divorced from its meaning, would make a beautiful
name for a girl. Like Treblinka." You gave me
a pained look in the dream, and I wondered
if it meant you didn’t agree with me, or if it meant
what you were eating didn’t agree with you—
Either way, it was plain to see that you were suffering.


Because he felt nothing,
because he felt he couldn’t
feel, he felt he couldn’t
love — and he lifted the wooden
door of the garage
which housed the car which
housed the easeful death
which he was half in love with,
when a small, dark, insidious grace
entered his left palm near the thumb
and lodged itself there,
and he winced in pain
and let go of his plan,
holding the injured hand
in the uninjured one,
holding it up to his mouth
as though drinking from it,
or eating from it, or
weeping into it, and in this
attitude walked
back into his life.

Paul Hostovsky is the author of Bending the Notes (2008) and Dear Truth (2009), both from Main Street Rag. His poems have been featured on Best of the Net, Poetry Daily, The Pushcart Prize XXXIII, The Writer’s Almanac, and Verse Daily. contact