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The Man in a Reindeer Mask

by Jose Hernandez Diaz

I was having a cup of plain coffee by myself at a café downtown when a man in a reindeer mask entered and approached my table. He said he was raising money for the dying rain forests throughout the world. I told him all the money I had I spent on coffee and that I was sorry I couldn’t help. He proceeded to read me a Haiku he’d written. It was about the rainforest and the vanishing trees. I told him I appreciated the sentiment of his Haiku. When he saw I genuinely had no money, we shook hands, and he left. The man in a reindeer mask exited the coffee shop and boarded a busy bus. I thought about the brevity and beauty of his Haiku all day, though. And the next day and week as well. A fading rainforest. A lone deer. The utter void.

Jose Hernandez Diaz is the author of the chapbook of prose poems, The Fire Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020). He has been awarded a fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, and he lives in southern California.


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