David Hernandez's most recent book of poetry, Hoodwinked, won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry. His new collection Dear, Sincerely is forthcoming spring 2016 as part of the Pitt Poetry Series. His awards include an NEA Literature Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize. David lives in Long Beach and is married to writer Lisa Glatt.
As you walk
to your mammogram appointment
my listening hides inside your purse,
footfalls coming loud from the dashboard,
behind the backseats,
I’m surrounded by
the machinery of you moving forward
I’m moving forward, too–
without speaking my odometer says 75,
and the voiceless cars along the highway say
let us hurry, let us cheat the minutes
before the minutes pick us clean.
you’re trekking over gravel, plateau
or piedmont gravel, creek rock
I cannot tell. Some little stones some river
If your blood was plugged
to an amplifier, blood as it races
then backtracks, it would sound like this.
And I would not sleep. I would swipe keys,
drive nowhere under the mantra of streetlights,
the wreckage of the universe,
and wonder how
long will you be around, and how long
will I be around to witness you being around.
The air crackles
while my speakers continue
broadcasting your steps, and I recognize that this
rhythmic sound belongs to the ocean–
Bang, hiss. Bang, hiss.
Our hearts always sing it.