Francisco Hernandez

I See Poems


I see poems in my grandmother's kitchen,
the sun filtered through yellow drapes,
the old oak chairs creaking under my grandparents' weight,
tiny dust creatures floating endlessly on the highways of light
(they moved out of my grandmother's path in mock respect),
the smell of flour tortillas and beans,
dust and cigar smoke mingled in my nostrils,
a small wooden cross hanging over the door,
a needlepoint saying "God Bless Our Home."

I see poems in construction workers,
high beam walkers, the gorillas who run the hammers,
living in a world of concrete and dust,
forging works of art out of a steel mass,
building shrines out of stone.
They wear the American flag on their hard hats,
chain their wallets to their belts,
drink their beer out of cans,
and have three things that are sacred: the union,
the U.S. and God.

I see poems in corner bars.
I see poems in Willie and Joe.
I see poems in dusty libraries, Norman Rockwell prints,
file cabinets, the Four Horsemen, my dreams.
I see poems in the crows-feet around my grandma's eyes,
and poems in her burial clothes.

—Francisco Hernandez

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