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About this poet

David Hernandez is the author of Dear, Sincerely (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016); Hookwinked (Sarabande Books, 2011), winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry; Always Danger (Southern Illinois University Press, 2006), winner of the Crab Orchard Series; and A House Waiting for Music (Tupelo Press, 2003). Hernandez’s honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He teaches creative writing at California State University, Long Beach, and at California State University, Fullerton, and lives in Long Beach.

Hello I Must Be Going

Really nice meeting you sorry
I have to hurry off there’s this thing
happening this thing I must do
you too yes dying is the thing
everyone is not talking about it
why ruin karaoke night why discolor
the air between you and the bartender
hello what can I get for you
it’s miraculous we’re here and then
the world is yanked from us and then
time dismantles our bodies to dust
okay um can I help the next customer
see it would be awkward
let’s not bring it up mum’s the word
come on now we’ve still got
some living to do pick up that trumpet
I’ve got mine already never mind
we can’t play any instruments
the point is to make a sound
any sound in this endless parade
shimmering toward silence.

Copyright © 2018 David Hernandez. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Winter 2018.

Copyright © 2018 David Hernandez. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Winter 2018.

David Hernandez

David Hernandez

David Hernandez is the author of Dear, Sincerely (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016); Hookwinked (Sarabande Books, 2011); Always Danger (Southern Illinois University Press, 2006); and A House Waiting for Music (Tupelo Press, 2003).

by this poet

poem
My condolences to the man dressed
for a funeral, sitting bored
on a gray folding chair, the zero

of his mouth widening in a yawn.
No doubt he's pictured himself inside
a painting or two around his station,

stealing a plump green grape
from the cluster hanging above
the corkscrew locks of Dionysus,

or shooting
poem
The widower in silk pajamas slides
his hand along a glossy blue sleeve,

thinking, Water to fabric, rivulet
slipped through a needle’s eye.

He’s all ripples when he moves,
all waves breaking against flesh.

He read in the paper the human body is
80 percent water. He is almost

a brook when he wanders
poem
Under the linden, a weatherworn
bench. Eleven wooden slats in all

to build a simple thing for sitting.
The one still generating green,

shawled in August sunlight,
hovers over the one chainsawed

and hauled to the lumberyard.
Each time it was split, sawdust leapt.

The bench was built. Years passed
and now a