The Jaguar Tattoo

by Jose Hernandez Diaz

A man in a Rage Against the Machine shirt chased a jaguar into the jungle. It wasn’t that the jaguar was scared of the man, it was just tired and wanted to rest. The man wanted to get closer to his roots. He knew the jaguar was sacred to the Mayans. The jaguar jumped into a tree. It began to rain. The man sat beneath the tree and started drawing the jaguar onto his sketchbook. It was a fine sketch, for sure.

Later, when he arrived back in the suburbs of Los Angeles, the man in a Rage Against the Machine shirt got a tattoo of the jaguar in the tree. He wondered if it was cliché for a Pocho to get a tattoo of a jaguar; he didn’t care, though. In fact, whenever he drank enough whiskey, he’d tell the story of chasing a jaguar into the jungle on a summer afternoon. He’d even make up a part about wrestling with the ancient beast; and winning.

Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Fellow. He is the author of The Fire Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020). His work appears in The American Poetry Review, Georgia Review, Iowa Review, The Nation, Poetry, and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading. Currently, he is an Associate Editor at Frontier and Palette Poetry.