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Published: Tue Jul 1 2008
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.

Your thumb’s the projector. It’s the motor
and mirror, lamp and lens. Down

the drawn frames it slides, pages purring.
Between the parted curtains of your hands

the silent movie plays out: stickman lifts
his stickarms, stickgun fires its stickbullet.

O, it’s always a snuff film, always a slaying
in pencil, the way this silver man collapses,

knees bending like paperclips. Round
head to the ground, body stretched to a line—

it’s easy to mistake him now for a lollipop.
The final page flips, again the first page

sits at the top, and you return to whatever
it is you do, the day calendar on your desk

shedding its days, the horizon juggling
the sun and moon, back and forth, the sun

and moon. How quickly the seven leaves
of the week fall to the earth. How boney

the twig they once held. Come midnight,
you won’t see today flipping to tomorrow.

Only the crosshatched shadows of the night
the sun will spend all morning erasing.

David Hernandez’s third poetry collection, Hoodwinked, won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize. His other collections are Always Danger (Southern Illinois University Press, 2006), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry, and A House Waiting for Music (Tupelo Press, 2003). His YA novels include No More Us for You and Suckerpunch, both published by HarperCollins. His poems have appeared in FIELD, The Threepenny Review, Ploughshares, AGNI, TriQuarterly, and The Missouri Review. David lives in Long Beach, California, and is married to writer Lisa Glatt. Visit his website at davidahernandez.com. (updated 4/2013)

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