Emu at the Zoo

Emu at the Zoo

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Paul Hostovsky’s most recent book is Deaf & Blind (Main Street Rag, 2020). His poems have won a Pushcart Prize, two Best of the Net Awards, and the FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize. Versions of “Emu” and “The New Criticism” were previously published in Bending the Notes (Main Street Rag, 2008) and Seems, #49, respectively. He works in Boston as a sign language interpreter.


From WTP Vol. IX #5

I dreamed you the emu at the zoo.
The sign said you bit, but you blinked
so sadly. You had

no hands. You looked
flabbergasted to be there.
Speechless for the first time in your life.

You could only cock your head in that birdlike way
and bite the wire mesh with your beak, but I knew
the word you were trying to say

was mistake
But there was no mistake.
After all, this was my dream,

and I wasn’t having any of your biting
inventory-taking editorial

in my dream.
Then I moved on
with my fistful of corn

to the fallow deer
who are always more timid
than hungry.

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