February 1, 2015


Nels Hanson has worked as a farmer, teacher and contract writer/editor. Poems have appeared in Word Riot, Oklahoma Review, Pacific Review and other magazines, and are in press at Squalorly, Sediments, Blotterature, Digital Papercuts, and Straight Forward Poetry. Poems in Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine and Citron Review were nominated for 2014 Pushcart Prizes and poems in the Sharkpack Review Annual were awarded its Prospero Prize.

 3 Poems:  Sky Pilot-The Miracle-The Friends

 Sky Pilot
Sky Pilot, tonight I watch your green wing
lights, red beacon flashing at nose or tail
cross my narrow sky and wonder if you
carry passengers who look from windows,

wondering if in the lit city below another
watches, wonders where their dark craft
is bound, toward hope or fear, gain or loss,
or where by one light one looking skyward

has arrived or might intend? Or do you fly
alone? Brave pilot headed westward your
colored stars disappear beyond a roof and
now only white stars remain, each single,

far, stationary as the one watching until at
last he turns from the night to sleep before
the Morning Star burns fiercely in the east 
and a new sun scales the mountain’s crest.

The Miracle

“I’m with the Master
now. He washes his red
hair in the blue bowl –”
Edgar Casey in sleep

The bread and fishes overflowing
a basket would fill the world until
the Master made them stop and I

among 5,000 fed along the shore.
I watched him leave frail bark of
panicked sailors to tread and still

the waves as if each drop of water
hid twelve hands supporting him.
In Cana at the wedding feast Mary

his mother whispered the wine was
drunk as he touched stone jar from
clear cold well and it became sweet

vintages I shared with thirsty guests.
By the same but different cistern he
met the lavish woman who had five

husbands he counted but never met.
At Gandara the many spirits named
Legion cast from one so strong with

evil he broke his chains asked entry
to a herd of swine and all 2,000 ran
down a hill to drown. Dead Lazarus

rising in his shroud, veil rending in
half at the holy temple door, Master
harrowing Hell and then returning,

displacing stone from tomb before
he spoke to Magdalene in a garden
I know well – None of it appeared

impossible, only end, beginning of
a charted road now shorter, longer,
milestones his feet walked first and

last, lines of loaves and fishes, first
step, last step, stone, water, bread,
living rungs of golden ladder angels

descend and climb between a single
world, not two, map a compass rose
my Master’s path was always tracing.

The Friends

Skipper, Mike, Rusty, Ida Red,
Don, Boy, Sandy, Ella, Troubles
and the others, Jess, Sheriff Billy

too, all dogs he’d known young
years on the lost farm, and strays
who’d wandered in from the road

and stayed, took their place, sat
together on haunches, rows and
rows in a rainbow of different fur,

wearing their old collars, muzzles
lifted, tails still, raised ears, waiting
just beyond the wicket gate, arch

of blooming orange trumpet vine
alive with bees after new flowers
for combs overflowing with amber

the color of each Valley sun setting
above the Coast Range as the hinges
spoke, the white pickets swung wide  

and shyly, tentative at first, then 30
tails waving from memory his best
friends sidled forward to greet him.

~Nels Hanson

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