Homophobia, by Paul Hostovsky

Paul Hostovsky

I have a friend who is hydrophobic–
he wants to learn how to swim
but he is too afraid
of the water
to give himself over to it
and just float.

And I have another friend who
is agoraphobic–he wants
to see the world,
and to see the country,
and to see the big city,
but he’s too afraid
to come out
of his tiny apartment
which is a closet really.

And my claustrophobic friend would love
to take the elevator,
my gephyrophobic friend wishes
she could drive over bridges
instead of having to go all the way around
each morning to get to work
and each night to get home again
before finally lying down
next to the one she loves.

Author’s Comment: It’s the only phobia among all the phobias that we don’t think of as a limitation, or a disability. So it doesn’t really seem to fit; it seems a sort of misnomer. Because it’s more about hatred than fear, isn’t it? Or is it? I’ve always thought the opposite of love was hate. But maybe the opposite of love is fear. Maybe hate IS fear. And fear is only lack of love.

Bio: Paul Hostovsky is a frequent contributor to Wild Goose. He has written 4 books of poetry and been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes and received multiple Best of the Net Awards.

One thought on “Homophobia, by Paul Hostovsky

  1. I love this poem. Reading your comment made me think of my eight year old son–when he was younger, he would cry during a thunderstorm and say he was afraid. Now, he will simply say, “I hate thunder!” I’ve heard myself do the same with spiders. I was afraid of them as a child, now I say casually, “I hate spiders.” So maybe hate is fear grown up.

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