They wanted to show me the Castle, but I was more interested in the doorknobs, which were mostly levers instead of knobs, and the toilets which were mostly not in the bathrooms but in little rooms beside the bathrooms, and the pater noster elevators which were left over from Communism and had no doors or buttons and never stopped moving so you had to leap in or leap out when they got to your floor, and the squirrels which were mostly red or black instead of gray, and the blue streaks of the thieving socialist magpies with their clicking metered phrases which reminded me of their cousins the American blue jays back home, and the fact that things here in general just seemed a lot more substantial, the bread for example, and the soups, and the eyebrows of the grandmothers, and the beer, and the coffee, and the buildings, and the rooftops which were mostly red instead of gray, and the heft of the coins, and the blue of the sky, and the beauty of the women, all those beautiful substantial Czech women, none of whom, I’d have bet my return ticket, was headed for the Castle or the Old Jewish Cemetery.

About the author

Paul Hostovsky's latest book is Mostly (FutureCycle Press, 2021). His poems have won a Pushcart Prize, two Best of the Net Awards, the FutureCycle…

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Issue 10 · September 2010

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