By: Nels Hanson
The absent ring’s white circle
remains long after the bare finger
turns the color of the hand.
For a second where the great
walnut tree stood 90 years
and its high branches reached
far higher than the tall farm house
passing robins hesitate, sensing
a familiar roost, before flying on.
In the drought year on the empty
pond on the farm once ours
we cease rowing to watch
the sapphire kingfisher hover
like a huge hummingbird
before it dives for fingerlings
of the sunfish we planted.
Someone calling through tule fog
last century cries the horse is loose
above the clean snap of shears
as I prune the vine’s dormant canes
for summer’s yellow grapes.
The Christmas presents bought
and wrapped in August and hidden
and forgotten under the bed
dream of a holiday fallen from
a 1965 Great Northern calendar
of a freight train, sure engine
entering the gorge of yellow
aspen through October Rockies.
Nels Hanson grew up on a small farm in the San Joaquin Valley of California and has worked as a farmer, teacher and contract writer/editor. His fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award and Pushcart nominations in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016. His poems received a 2014 Pushcart nomination, Sharkpack Review’s 2014 Prospero Prize, and 2015 and 2016 Best of the Net nominations.