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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.

Mosul

The donkey. The donkey pulling the cart.
The caravan of dust. The cart made of plywood,
of crossbeam and junkyard tires. The donkey
made of donkey. The long face. The long ears.
The curled lashes. The obsidian eyes blinking
in the dust. The cart rolling, cracking the knuckles
of pebbles. The dust. The blanket over the cart.
The hidden mortar shells. The veins of wires.
The remote device. The red light. The donkey
trotting. The blue sky. The rolling cart. The dust
smudging the blue sky. The silent bell of the sun.
The Humvee. The soldiers. The dust-colored
uniforms. The boy from Montgomery, the boy
from Little Falls. The donkey cart approaching.
The dust. The laughter on their lips. The dust
on their lips. The moment before the moment.
The shockwave. The dust. The dust. The dust.

From Hoodwinked, published by Sarabande Books. Copyright © 2011 by David Hernandez. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

From Hoodwinked, published by Sarabande Books. Copyright © 2011 by David Hernandez. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

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

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

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