Jose Padua

Made in America

If I were a less sane person I would probably stalk
Zoey Deschanel. After stalking her from nine to five,
I would come back home to my wife and daughter
and tell them about my day. “I stalked Zoey, but I

never saw her,” I’d say. “You’re just not trying hard
enough,” my wife would reply, “don’t give up.” After
glaring at me for a moment my daughter would say,
“Why don’t you just find a real job? No one’s going

to pay you to stalk Zoey Deschanel.” So I’ll tell her
about fame, about the things in this world that aren’t
real and the rain and the empty river in a dream. “I’m
not doing this for money,” I’ll explain, and she’ll turn

away from me and back to her strawberries, pulling
a plump red cone from the blue bowl on the table.

Jose Padua was born in Washington, DC and is a veteran of New York’s spoken word scene. His first book, A Short History of Monsters, was chosen by Billy Collins as the winner of the 2019 Miller Williams Prize and is out from the University of Arkansas Press. After spending ten years with his wife (the poet Heather L. Davis) and children in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, he and his family are back in his hometown, Washington DC.