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Stories I

Note to the house sitters

by David Hernandez

Occasional house sitter and always poet, David Hernandez, has found ‘the stuff of life’ in a scrawled note from his family, the owners of the house he was sitting. Expect blood on the carpet.

for Andy and Kathy

Please relax and enjoy yourselves.
Please do not flush any of the toilets
or else a geyser. Please feel free
to eat anything inside the refrigerator
that isn’t edible. Wednesday,
our gardener Francisco will be here
at 4 A.M. Please hold the flashlight
while he trims the hedges. Please
fill his leafblower with unleaded gas.
Massage his feet when he’s done,
please, then make him breakfast:
huevos rancheros, unbuttered toast,
black coffee. Please don’t say Mexico
or else geysers from his eyes. Sorry,
but the washing machine’s out of order.
The air conditioner, also out of order.
The telephones, the TV, the bed—
all out of order. Sorry. The mirrors,
too, are out of order and only reflect
the walls they’re nailed to. Sorry
if the doorbell chimes by itself.
Sorry for the mess in the living room.
Who would have thought a riot
could break out during a baby shower?
Please wash the frosting and bloodstains
from the carpet. Please tidy-up
before we come back from our trip.
We’re pleased to have you in our lives.
Please make yourselves at home. Please.

David Hernandez

About the author: David Hernandez

David Hernandez's first book of poems, A House Waiting for Music, was published by Tupelo Press in 2003. His second collection, Always Danger, won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry and will be published by Southern Illinois University Press in March 2006. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, AGNI, The Southern Review, Epoch, Iowa Review, and The Missouri Review. His drawings have also appeared in literary magazines, including a feature in Indiana Review. A recipient of a grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, his chapbook collections include Man Climbs Out of Manhole and Donating the Heart. David lives in Long Beach, California and is married to writer Lisa Glatt.