V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





I think it looks to them
like one of them,
this three-legged one
belly-up under
my arm, wrung neck
hanging down with my finger-
prints still on it.
I think they think
I've killed it,
till I squeeze with my elbow
and it comes to life
groaning, a three-
headed one now
craning its necks
over my shoulder, sounding
the alarm.
                 The gander
lifts from his desultory nibbling
as if to consider
whether my domestic
squabble is impinging
on his honor, his distant
foreign and a little
ungainly cousin having eloped
with me, the interloper.
But is it love
or death, this alarming
embrace of mine,
all bellows and drones and tasseled
goose? He lifts
his bill skyward, tunes
his own broken clarinet a moment,
then resumes his nibbling,
returning his nose
to its own business
as if to say, Who knows
or cares if love is fighting
or love is loving?
And who dares
presume to understand love's ways
or love's eyes for the one
with the one leg and three heads,
or the three legs and no head?
And who's to say why one
is the one love is dying for
while another is a dead bore
at love's oblivious side?
There is only
this music that drones on and on
while someone or other is always
dancing till he drops
dead of exhaustion
or disillusion
or strangulation.
The indifferent
beaks will always go on eating.

© by Paul Hostovsky



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