Three by Jose Hernandez Diaz

The Moon, 2050

A man in an At-the-Drive-In shirt bought a new car because his old car had disintegrated. The new car was a flying car. It was the year 2050. The man in an At-the-Drive-In shirt flew in his flying car to the zoo, except the zoo was on the moon. When the moon had first been colonized in 2025, the Americans brought baby zebras to the moon to start building the species on the moon. Eventually, there were too many zebras roaming free. They were rounded up by astronauts and placed into a zoo. The zoo of zebras was a major attraction on the moon. Right next to the ballet of penguins. When the man in an At-the-Drive-In shirt finished his day at the zoo of zebras and the ballet of penguins, he had an iced coffee at earth set. “The earth is so old-school and nostalgic,” he said to himself, as he sipped his iced coffee.

Meeting James Tate in Heaven

I met James Tate at a carnival in heaven. Tate was riding the bumper cars with his cat, “Lucy.” I was smoking a cigarette on the Ferris Wheel with my dog incidentally named, “Carnival.” We met in line to buy hot dogs. “My name is Jose,” I said. “I’m James Tate. Nice to meet you,” he said. We ate our hot dogs at a bench with graffiti scribbled by fallen angels. Tate asked me a couple of questions: “What’s your favorite season?” “Autumn,” I said. “Who’s your favorite baseball team?” “The Dodgers,” I said. “I like the Kansas City Royals, myself,” he said. As the clouds darkened and the carnival ended, the jugglers and clowns packed up for the next town in heaven. Tate and I shook hands, said our goodbye, and went our separate ways. Tate, to a fancy cocktail party with the original nine muses. Myself, to a library of forgotten saints on the other side of heaven.

The Man and the Dragon

People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin.

A man in a Jimi Hendrix shirt walked a dragon to a liquor store. The dragon was named Louie, the Dragon. The dragon was purple and green. The man in a Jimi Hendrix shirt tied the dragon to a pole outside of the liquor store as he purchased marigolds and an umbrella. It was only slightly raining, a drizzle.

Next, the man in a Jimi Hendrix shirt jumped on the dragon and flew over the freeway in the jagged city. The man saw cars and buildings below; he felt like a star. The dragon only obeyed his owner, the man in a Jimi Hendrix shirt. He had nurtured the dragon since infancy.

The man in a Jimi Hendrix shirt finally arrived at a gothic cemetery. The man laid marigolds on the dragon’s mother’s grave. He’d promised to take care of her baby dragon until it grew strong and independent. The man in a Jimi Hendrix shirt and the dragon sat by the grave until sunset and then flew back to the suburbs.


Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He is the author of The Fire Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020). His work appears in The American Poetry Review, Boulevard, Colorado Review, Conduit, Georgia Review, Huizache, Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, Poetry, The Southern Review, The Yale Review, and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading Anthology 2011. He teaches creative writing online and is a Guest Editor for Frontier Poetry.