THE TRUE POET

JOSE HERNANDEZ DIAZ

My abuelo was the true poet:
The way he tilled the land with his hands,
Beneath the sun; he seemed to touch the sky

With his hoe. My abuelo was the true poet:
The way he joked with his mule as they rode,
The two of them alone with the dawn;

He seemed to reach the moon with his laugh.
My abuelo was the true poet: the way
He smoked his cigarette on the porch like a train

In the wind; he seemed to graze the trees
With his breath. My abuelo was the true poet:
The way he wrote the earth with his poems;

He could not use a pen with his hands.

Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellow. He is from Southern California. He is the author of a collection of prose poems: The Fire Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020). His work appears in The American Poetry Review, Boulevard, Cincinnati Review, Georgia Review, Huizache, Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, The Nation, Poetry, Southeast Review, among others. He has served as poetry editor for Lunch Ticket and editorial intern for Floricanto Press.