Jose Hernandez Diaz
A Wednesday in Autumn Where I Turn into Pinocchio at the Local Library
I was teaching an online class at the library on the decay of western civilization when the librarian rushed in and told me my time was up. I pleaded for another five minutes in vain. I was just getting to the good stuff. The petite librarian proceeded to get me in a headlock and escorted me off the premises. She told me I was a bad seed. When I asked for my wallet she denounced me as a rebel without a cause. I tried to forget about it as I walked home in the rain, wallet less. It was a record rainfall, lately. But we were in a drought, so I was actually grateful. I noticed a slick puddle adjacent to the graffitied sewer and saw my worn reflection. I was somehow growing donkey ears and a tail. Was I turning into a donkey like Pinocchio when he lied? Who was Gepetto? The librarian? I hadn’t told a lie. What lie had I uttered? I had denounced western civilization, but I was merely being sardonic. Nevertheless, I take it back, I don’t want to be a donkey anymore. The rain suddenly stopped. I opened the door to my rickety apartment. It was my birthday on the weekend. Everything would be all right, right? Everything, except the trauma inflicted by the petite librarian. No worries, though, I’d paint it all away, like everything else. It had worked before, it’d work again. No sweat, really.
Jose Hernandez Diaz
Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He is the author of a chapbook of prose poems: The Fire Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020) and the forthcoming, Bad Mexican, Bad American (Acre Books, 2024). His work appears in The American Poetry Review, Boulevard, Cincinnati Review, Huizache, Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, Poetry, The Southern Review, Yale Review, and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading. He teaches generative workshops for Litro Magazine, Hugo House, Lighthouse Writers Workshops, The Writer’s Center, Beyond Baroque, and elsewhere.