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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.

SS Nevertheless

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
around the yard, practically a river

flowing upstream when climbing stairs,
the distant past of Pacific salmon

leaping over his shoulders. He naps
for hours on a king-size, the mattress

dimpled where two bodies slept
together for decades. Dreaming,

he is the relative of that lake
where he tipped the urn overboard.

What was left of her the water
dissolved, becoming the water

and the lulling blue sounds it made
while he paddled back to land.

Copyright © 2017 David Hernandez. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2017.

Copyright © 2017 David Hernandez. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2017.

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
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
poem
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