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  4. Lisa by David Hernandez

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Last night I traced with my finger   
the long scar on my love’s stomach
as if I was following a road on a map.
I heard the scream of tires, saw the flash

of chrome, her six-year-old body   
a rag doll bleeding at the seams.
It is foolish of me to wish
I was there before it happened, to reach

back thirty years, clasp her small hand   
and pull her away from that speeding car   
that turned her organs into bruised fruit.   
How easily she could have missed

her seventh birthday, the lit candles waiting   
for her to blow out their tiny flames.   
How easily I could’ve spent last night   
in a crowded bar instead,

my shoulders brushing against strangers,   
a man on the jukebox
singing his heart out to a woman
with the prettiest eyes he’s ever seen.

“Lisa” from A House Waiting for Music by David Hernandez, published by Tupelo Press. Copyright © 2003 by David Hernandez. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of Tupelo Press.
Source: A House Waiting for Music (Tupelo Press, 2003)
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  • 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 Dear Sincerely (2016), 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 reckons with loss. In her review of Hoodwinked, Debrah Lechner noted that “The vast majority of images in the poems of Hoodwinked are of everyday life, an ordinary, common life filled with ordinary beauty and common events; but the repeated theme of death and decay draw these images into magnified, sharp focus.”
    Hernandez’s honors include a 2011 Literary Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation. He has taught at the University of...

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