Fresh Flowers

Jose Hernandez Diaz
| poetry


I was walking in a forest when I found a book of prose poems by Charles Baudelaire floating in a calm creek. I knelt into the shallow water and grabbed the book. It was signed by Baudelaire himself, or, just as likely, a forged copy. Nevertheless, I placed the book onto a patch of soft grass beneath the summer sun. It dried with the light breeze like a surfer resting in the sand after an early morning session.

After an hour, I picked up the book and began to read. I read for about three hours. Then, the moon came up like a wish. I fell asleep in the field, by the creek, with the book on my chest. The next morning when the sun woke me up, the book was gone. I was confused for a moment, until I saw the book floating back in the creek again. I dug it out, once more, and dried it off, again. I continued reading, by the creek. The French words, poems, and soft pages were like fresh flowers to me. Time became irrelevant.

Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He is the author of The Fire Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020) and the forthcoming Bad Mexican, Bad American (Acre Books, 2024). He lives, teaches, and edits in Southeast Los Angeles County.

Triptych: To the People I Never Hit Drunk-Driving
In Maine