Natural Takeover of Small Things by Tim Z. Hernandez

Tim Z. Hernandez reads the poems “Home” and “Brown Christ” from his collection, Natural Takeover of Small Things, published in February by the University of Arizona Press.



Fresno is the inexhaustible nerve
in the twitching leg of a dog
three hours after being smashed
beneath the retread wheel
of a tomato truck en route to
a packing house that was raided
by the feds just days before the harvest,
in which tractors were employed
to make do where the vacancy
of bodies could not, as they ran out
into the oncoming traffic of Highway 99,
arms up in dead heat, shouting
the names of their children,
who were huddled nearby,
in an elementary school, reciting
out loud, The House That Jack Built.  

Brown Christ

Yesterday, I saw God,
a brown Christ hovering
above an onion field
over the tilled plains of the San Joaquin—
frayed constellation of denim,
ox hide work boot broken at the heel,
a curved knife gripped in his fingers,
low clouds undulating, hair of broken
lemongrass & rodeo lasso,
a fragrant beard of perejíl,
everything smelled of sulphur
& manure, the silos wept
and the snowflakes tumbled tenderly
from the day moon, refracting
luminous congregations of aspen,
with the music of truck dogs
howling over accordians,
shimmering manna-light.


Reprinted with permission by University of Arizona Press, from Natural Takeover of Small Things by Tim Z. Hernandez. Copyright © 2013 by Tim Z. Hernandez.