A man walked in a desert on a Sunday afternoon. It was his birthday. He’d spent the morning walking in the desert after his horse died. The man was starting to feel weaker by the minute. Then he began to see a mirage: it was his fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Cranford. Mrs. Cranford had died ten years ago. The mirage, or Mrs. Cranford, implored him to keep pushing, despite the oppressive heat of the desert. The man leaned toward the mirage, to give it a hug. It disappeared. The man looked up at the sky: the stars were beginning to shine.

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, Cincinnati Review, Georgia Review, Huizache, Iowa Review, The Nation, Poetry, and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011. Currently, he is an Associate Editor at Frontier and a Guest Editor at Palette Poetry.

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