Rodan's hands
Cover of 'Bird In The Hand'

Poems from Selected Poems featured on
The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor read “The Affair in the Office” on National Public Radio’s
The Writer’s Almanac
on July 12, 2014.
“The Affair in the Office” is from Selected Poems by Paul Hostovsky

The Affair in the Office

It belonged to all of us in a way
because we all shared
in the surprise
that it existed at all,
and also, privately, in the thrill
of the two lovers
(none more surprised than they)
who'd worked together in the same sad office
with all of us for all
these years, and both of them married,
and both unhappily. It was
a sad office, like so many
sad offices, full of the inexorable sadness
of cubicles, and computers, and empty
of love. Or so we thought. For no one
saw it growing—it must have
gotten in through a high
bit of laughter in the lunchroom,
then a glancing away
and a looking back again, the way
it sometimes does. And when it got out
in whispers around the water cooler
we all drank from it,
we drank it in, and in this way
it refreshed us, and amazed us,
and belonged to us because
we all took it home, took it
with us in the car, or on the train, sat with it
in rush hour, shaking our heads as though
we were listening to music, and in a way
we were listening to music,
shaking our heads and smiling,
looking out the window, fingers drumming.


Garrison Keillor read “Poem on the Fridge” on National Public Radio’s
The Writer’s Almanac
on July 7, 2014.
“Poem on the Fridge” is from Selected Poems by Paul Hostovsky.

Poem on the Fridge

The refrigerator is the highest honor
a poem can aspire to. The ultimate
publication. As close to food as words
can come. And this refrigerator poem
is honored to be here beneath its own
refrigerator magnet, which feels like a medal
pinned to its lapel. Stop here a moment
and listen to the poem humming to itself,
like a refrigerator itself, the song in its head
full of crisp, perishable notes that wither in air,
the words to the song lined up here like
a dispensary full of indispensable details:
a jar of corrugated green pickles, an array
of headless shrimp, fiery maraschino cherries,
a fruit salad, veggie platter, assortments of
cheeses and chilled French wines, a pink
bottle of amoxicillin: the poem is infectious.
It's having a party. The music, the revelry,
is seeping through this white door.