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)
More Poems by David Hernandez