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Another Life


I think I was a professional surfer in another life.
Or a boxer. A pugilist, I should say. A writer is a curse.

I think I was a Jack-in-the-Box jester, popping out of said box.
Maybe I was a wolf howling at the moon, wind, clouds.

Or, I was a ghost. Because other lives don’t exist.
But, what if I was a ballerino in the ‘60s plotting

Against the government? A rebel ballerino—yes!
No, what if I wasn’t anything but a poet and a painter?

What if it rained all summer? Snowed in spring?
How do you end a poem? With words. Precious words.

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). His work appears in APR, Boulevard, Poetry, The Southern Review, Yale Review, and in "The Best American Nonrequired Reading." He is an editor and creative writing teacher from Southeast Los Angeles.

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