Dear Professor
Let me explain my lengthy absence ---
My entire family got food poisoning,
myself included. We had eaten rotten
fish tacos, old bad cod, I've never been so
nauseous, the house wouldn't stop
spinning, wouldn't stop shuffling
its windows, I was gushing from
I'll spare you the details. And Grandma
shutting down, hallucinating, said the world
was pixilated. We rushed her to St. Mary's
on a flat tire, no spare in the trunk,
a burst of sparks as the screaming rim
scored the road like a pizza cutter.
They plugged her in, her monitor drew
neon green mountain ranges. Strange,
you'd think they'd have Internet access
there, free wi-fi, a wing in the hospital
to check one's email. Odd, too, no
connectivity back home, no electric blood
sluicing through the wires, a hitch
in the system, some inexplicable glitch,
impossible for me to get a hold of you
until now, two weeks after the due date.
l'm sorry. And sorry I missed class today,
another flat tire, stupid overturned
box of nails on the freeway, I hissed
for miles, the car listed, such a headache,
and still queasy from the tacos. Please
consider all this when grading my essay
(see attachment). Please excuse any typos
or logical fallacies, my mind has been
elsewhere: Grandma's mountains
stretched flat. Her green horizon. I want
to live forever. I want to pass your class
and graduate, get a gig, marry some hottie,
see the world, drive until my wheels
come wobbling off, and keep driving ---
but first I need to pass your class.
No pressure. Honestly. No pressure.
--- David Hernandez
From Wide Awake:
Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond

©2015 Pacific Coast Poetry Series
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