Poetry: Issue #4

The Village, Mud Season Review art by Emily Mitchell
*Image: “The Village”, Emily Mitchell

 

Featured poet

Paul Hostovsky

 

Hitler Stamp

I traded ten triangular
Mongolian stamps for Hitler,
Hitler who killed my father’s
whole family.

My father hated Hitler.
He refused to say Hitler’s name.
He refused to let anyone say it
under his roof. He refused

to speak a word of German
after 1945. I hated
Hitler, too. But I loved
my Hitler stamp.

I loved taking him out
of the wax-paper sleeve
in my stamp collecting book
and holding him in my hand

under the light. And what
would my father have said if he knew
I was up there in my room
under his roof

hoarding Hitler, harboring Hitler,
holding Hitler up
to the light?

 

Gauguin’s Grandson

was named Paul Gauguin,
too. He was an artist, too.
He lived in Denmark
in his grandfather’s shadow
all his life. And he chafed
against that shadow.
Like living under a rock—
a rock as big as the biggest
island in French Polynesia.
He painted only insects.
Insects that live under rocks—
beetles, ants, centipedes,
pill bugs. In a later period,
he painted only his wife Marta
in only her long black hair
and horn-rimmed glasses.
Toward the end of his life
he made hundreds of collages
of orthopterous insects—
katydids, mantids, cicadas,
crickets and grasshoppers
with long hind legs for jumping,
or you could say, flying;
and for making a rasping, chafing
sound, or you could say, song.

 

Paul Hostovsky

Paul Hostovsky is the author of five books of poetry and six poetry chapbooks. His Selected Poems was published by FutureCycle Press in 2014. His poems have won a Pushcart Prize and two Best of the Net
Awards. He has been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and was a featured poet on the Georgia Poetry Circuit in 2013. He makes his living in Boston as an interpreter for the deaf. To read more of his work, visit him at www.paulhostovsky.com.

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