Nancy Hernandez


Nancy Hernandez is a Chicana poet who grew up in Fresno, California.  She writes a lot about her Texan/Mexican Chicano father and her Mexican immigrant mother. She earned an MFA from California State University, Fresno, and is a VONA alum. Nancy currently teaches English composition in the Central Valley, and when she isn’t teaching or writing, she is sewing, cooking, or sitting by the local lake.

Twitter: @nanipop16

Instagram: @nancers82

The Day I Realize My Father’s Smile Will Never Be the Same

They have been with you since you were a kid,
and today they will be pried from your mouth 

because they have begun to rot and
chew away at the gum. And the years 

you mixed heroin with blood, now settle
in delicate pearl caves and bubble flesh. 

You ask me to drive you because you must
swallow a pill that will swallow your nerves. 

I say you will be okay, that the pain will go away,
but you don’t say that is why you are worried. 

You are afraid, to soar, to remember old habits,
afraid you will lose more than teeth. 

I smile at you, know exactly the words stuck
between broken white picket fences. 

The ride is quiet until you begin to chuckle
and I pretend to laugh too, stretch my mouth 

force it not to remember the things we lost.
I help you off the car, hold your arm, and 

sit with you until they call your name.
We hug and I reach for your face, 

press my lips against your cheek, teach them
to read like fingertips on braille, trying 

to register each bump cushioned by skin.
I say I will answer when they call me for you.

© The Acentos Review 2018