Poem of the Week

The Stranger

Jose Hernandez Diaz

A man came up to me as I was walking home from the pharmacy: “Are you Jose Hernandez Diaz?” “Yes,” I said, “who’s asking?” “Do you enjoy sipping tea before bedtime?” “Well, I do, but what is it to you?” I asked. “In the ninth grade, did you get cut from the basketball team?” “I did, in fact, get cut from the team.” “Do you sometimes wonder what life would’ve been like had you married Margot Cisneros?” “Maybe, sometimes, yes,” I said. “Are you afraid of small talk and long walks in the city?” “I’m just a little introverted,” I said. “Does the night sky resemble a dragon of your dreams?” “Yes, thank you for asking,” I said. “Did you cry when Muncy hit that home run in the World Series?” “I did cry at that moment. Proud of it!” “Were you born and raised back and forth between L.A. and Orange County?” “Story of my life; yes,” I said. “Does the night sky resemble a dragon of your dreams?” “Yes, thank you for asking. Yes!”

Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow and the author of The Fire Eater. His work appears in The American Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, Huizache, Poetry, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing online and edits for Frontier Poetry.
Originally published:
March 9, 2022

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