Paul Hoover

March 24, 2021 Hoover Paul



While we were kissing that year, the icebergs were sleeping,
the penguins dreaming, dancing so slowly
they were hardly breathing.
We were whiling our time!


While you were striking a match,
a small and lonely coastal state drifted out of sight.
Love was gained and lost,
while we were mowing the lawn.


While is a glacier melting.
It never seemed to end, but there it is, gone!


It’s the deepest word at the shallow end of the pool,
where a mother stands knee-deep with the child
most likely to go under.


You were washing dishes during the insurrection,
polishing a stone while the century turned
and then the new millennium.


That’s a good grandfather, to remember the trenches,
with their scent of a different pandemic,
a little bit like walnuts, with the slightest hint of death.
He lived a long time to forget about us,
to dream completely each breath.

Paul Hoover’s most recent book of poetry, Gravity’s Children, is currently being prepared for publication. Mr. Hoover is the editor of New American Writing, and Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology, 1994; with Maxine Chernoff, he edited and translated Selected Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin , which won the 2009 PEN USA Translation Award. With Nguyen Do, he edited and translated Beyond the Court Gate: Selected Poems of Nguyen Trai. A chapter of his novel, Saigon, Illinois, appeared  in The New Yorker and his poems have been published in numerous anthologies, and in journals and reviews including American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, Partisan Review, The New Republic, and Poetry.