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

Poems from Bird in the Hand featured on
The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor


Garrison Keillor read “Coconut” on National Public Radio’s
The Writer’s Almanac
on September 25, 2006.
“Coconut” is from Bird in the Hand by Paul Hostovsky.


Bear with me I
want to tell you
something about
it’s hard to get at
but the thing is
I wasn’t looking
I was looking
somewhere else
when my son found it
in the fruit section
and came running
holding it out
in his small hands
asking me what
it was and could we
keep it it only
cost 99 cents
hairy and brown
hard as a rock
and something swishing
around inside
and what on earth
and where on earth
and this was happiness
this little ball
of interest beating
inside his chest
this interestedness
beaming out
from his face pleading
and because I wasn’t
happy I said
to put it back
because I didn’t want it
because we didn’t need it
and because he was happy
he started to cry
right there in aisle
five so when we
got it home we
put it in the middle
of the kitchen table
and sat on either
side of it and began
to consider how
to get inside of it

Garrison Keillor read “Greenhouse” on National Public Radio’s
The Writer’s Almanac
on September 5, 2006.
“Greenhouse” is from Bird in the Hand by Paul Hostovsky


My Aunt Ellie lived in a green-
house. This was in Irvington
New Jersey. A Jew alone
is a Jew in danger, her husband
said. Their daughter, my cousin,
wanted to go where she wanted
to go. They said it was a big
mistake. In a greenhouse you
cultivate certain delicate
non-indigenous plants. The house
was green and my cousin fell
deeply in love with a black man.
When she married him her father
sat shiva for her, meaning that
he mourned her for dead. But
she was only living over in East
Orange. She had two beautiful
daughters who never knew
their grandfather on their mother’s
side. Because she was dead to him
until the day he died. That was the day
we all went over to Aunt Ellie’s house
where she was sitting shiva. We met
my cousin’s husband Toe, for the first time,
and their two daughters, Leah and Aleesha.
And we opened all the windows in
the greenhouse on that day, for outside
it was a beautiful spring day and we
broke out the expensive delicate china
from Germany which they kept locked up
in a glass breakfront in the hall.