“Dear Proofreader” by David Hernandez

David Hernandez


You’re right. I meant “midst,” not “mist.”
I don’t know what I was stinking,
I mean thinking, soap speaks intimately
to my skin every day. Most days.
Depending if darkness has risen
to my skull like smoke up a chimney floe.
Flue. Then no stepping nude
into the shower, no mist turning
the bathroom mirror into frosted glass
where my face would float
coldly in the oval. Picture a caveman
encased in ice. Good. I like how
your mind works, how your eyes
inside your mind works, and your actual eyes
reading this, their icy precision, nothing
slips by them. Even now I can feel you
hovering silently above these lines,
hawkish, Godlike, each period
a lone figure kneeling in the snow.
That’s too sad. I would like to send
search parties and rescue choppers
to every period ever printed.
I would like to apologize to my wife
for not showering on Monday and Tuesday.
I was stinking. I was simultaneously
numb and needled with anxiety,
in the midst of a depressive episode.
Although “mist” would work too,
metaphorically speaking, in the mist of,
in the fog of, this gray haze that followed me
relentlessly from room to room
until every red bell inside my head
was wrong. Rung.

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012
2012 Rattle Poetry Prize Finalist


David Hernandez: “I finished writing ‘Dear Proofreader’ on December 15th, 2010. On that same date, the mummified head of King Henri IV was found inside a retiree’s garage in France. In Tokyo, a science professor announced that a Japanese salmon species thought to have been extinct since 1940 was discovered in a lake near Mount Fuji by his research team. Also on this date I took a nap.” (website)

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