Published on Academy of American Poets (

Museum Guard

My condolences to the man dressed
for a funeral, sitting bored
on a gray folding chair, the zero

of his mouth widening in a yawn.
No doubt he's pictured himself inside
a painting or two around his station,

stealing a plump green grape
from the cluster hanging above
the corkscrew locks of Dionysus,

or shooting arrows at rosy-cheeked cherubs
hiding behind a woolly cloud.
With time limping along

like a Bruegel beggar, no doubt
he's even seen himself taking the place
of the one crucified: the black spike

of the minute hand piercing his left palm,
the hour hand penetrating the right, 
nailed forever to one spot.


From A House Waiting for Music by David Hernandez. Copyright © 2003 by David Hernandez. Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press. All rights reserved.


David Hernandez

David Hernandez is the author of Dear, Sincerely (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016); Hookwinked (Sarabande Books, 2011); Always Danger (Southern Illinois University Press, 2006); and A House Waiting for Music (Tupelo Press, 2003).

Date Published: 2003-01-01

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