Paul Hostovsky


I've worked as apprentice of sorts

to the wino in the park

for years. I keep an eye on his bottle of port

when he leaves it to piss in the pachysandra.


My predecessor struck out on his own

for the park across town

where he finally drowned in his own self pity.

So much for ambition.


Once, when I spoke of quitting, my employer

wept. He kissed me and praised

my perfect attendance. He offered to serve

as a reference.


The problem was his job title: the drunk.

And his address: the drunk in the park.

The drunk in the park is in.

What are the prospects


for someone bearing such a reference?

Where is the prospective employer

who would take it for what it's worth?

So I don't quit. I stay on. I'm too

specialized.  And too loyal.

Paul Hostovsky's poems appear widely online and in print and have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac.  He has two poetry chapbooks, Bird in the Hand (Grayson Books, 2006) and Dusk Outside the Braille Press (Riverstone Press, 2006).  He works in Boston as a sign language interpreter.  More of Paul's poetry is at: