three poems

by Jose Hernandez Diaz

The Juggler in the Woods

A man in a Pink Floyd shirt juggled three axes in the snow in the woods. He’s adventurous but is beginning to think he’s taking it too far. The first axe falls to the floor, barely missing his big toe. Then the second axe slips out of his hand, spiraling in the air behind him. He has one axe left. He begins to chop wood for a fire. The man in a Pink Floyd shirt sleeps near the fire. The woods are quiet that night. Quiet but cold.


The Skeleton and the Surfboard

A sculpture of a skeleton on a surfboard in a museum came to life. It started surfing in the air. Everyone was shocked. The skeleton exited the museum. It flew in the air alongside cars, taxis, and buses. Some people waved. Some laughed. Others cried and were scared out of their minds. The skeleton on a surfboard rode to the ocean. It was late-summer. The waves were perfect. The skeleton on a surfboard caught some gnarly waves. The other surfers didn’t mind him. They waved at him the hang-loose sign. The skeleton nodded back in approval. The skeleton surfed for three hours. He was very skilled, but not a showoff.

Eventually, the sun set. The skeleton got off his board and sat in the sand. He smoked a cigarette. The skeleton pulled out a marker and started drawing on his surfboard. He drew a purple jaguar in a tree. The skeleton was a skilled artist; trained in Paris. When he finished drawing, the skeleton jumped back on the board and flew toward the moon. Clouds dissipated in his presence. The skeleton didn’t know exactly where he was going, but he knew he wanted to search for new places to surf. He flew all night in search of new shores. It was his only desire.


The Sun

There was once a bright yellow sun. It sparkled all over the land. The people loved to sing and dance in the bright sun. They built cities and temples in her honor. The plants and animals loved it, too. Cock-a-doodle-doo! The sun was calm at times. At times, it was very angry. Its rays could shake a mountain, too. At times, it hid behind the clouds. Peek-a-boo! The sun. The sun. The sun. The sun.

One day it fell into the sea. All the people couldn’t see. They wondered where did everything go? “The sun was my only friend,” said a man on a pier. “The sun was nice. The sun was sweet,” said a woman through a phone.

When will the sun return, my love? When will we sing among the ruins? Why must I cry alone, tonight? And if the sun returns, my love, will you be by my side, tonight?

Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. His work appears in The Acentos Review, Bat City Review, Bennington Review, Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, Huizache, Iowa Review, The Nation, Poet Lore, Poetry, The Progressive, Witness, and in the Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011. His chapbook of prose poems The Fire Eater is forthcoming in Spring 2020 with Texas Review Press.

Artwork by: Bastian Riccardi