At the Post Office

By David Hernandez b. 1971 David Hernandez
The line is long, processional, glacial,
and the attendant a giant stone, cobalt blue
with flecks of white, I’m not so much
looking at a rock but a slab of night.
The stone asks if anything inside the package
is perishable. When I say no the stone
laughs, muted thunderclap, meaning
everything decays, not just fruit
or cut flowers, but paper, ink, the CD
I burned with music, and my friend
waiting to hear the songs, some little joy
after chemo eroded the tumor. I know flesh
is temporary, and memory a tilting barn
the elements dismantle nail by nail.
I know the stone knows a millennia of rain
and wind will even grind away
his ragged face, and all of this slow erasing
is just a prelude to when the swelling
universe burns out, goes dark, holds
nothing but black holes, the bones of stars
and planets, a vast silence. The stone
is stone-faced. The stone asks how soon
I want the package delivered. As fast
as possible, I say, then start counting the days.

Poem copyright ©2011 by David Hernandez from his most recent book of poems, Hoodwinked, Sarabande Books, 2011. Reprinted by permission of David Hernandez and the publisher.

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Poet David Hernandez b. 1971

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Biography

Born in Burbank, California, poet and young adult writer David Hernandez earned a BA at California State University-Long Beach. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Hoodwinked (2011), Always Danger (2006), and A House Waiting for Music (2003), as well as the young adult novels No More Us for You (2009) and Suckerpunch (2007). With humor and precision, Hernandez’s poems investigate the ordinary as it . . .

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Poems by David Hernandez

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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