poem by Nels Hanson
Look into blue shadow, past the welding
shop’s sliding doors and you see Hephaestus
with his hammer pounding Hermes’ winged
hat and sandals to bring the bad news, magic
armor of Achilles ready for the coming war.
In the orchard at noon the young woman
from Oaxaca hands her husband a ripe peach
and Eden falls west of Nod. That silver plane
droning above scattered white clouds? A B-29
a century off course, brave pilot and navigator
ghosts in their leather jackets lined with fleece,
now the white-haired bombardier releases
napalm on his foreign country. Long miles
of telephone poles provide a cross for every
citizen, each failed savior, far angels singing
through the dozen wires. A calendar’s torn
leaves, free of months and days, Halloween
and Easter, spiral in the whirlwind that spoke
to Job, simple paper made of rags. The still
ditch sparkling in the morning’s summer sun
waits for spaced ripples of a journey, familiar
feet treading softly on fathomless water again.
About the writer
Nels Hanson grew up on a small raisin and tree fruit farm in the San Joaquin Valley of California, earned degrees from U.C. Santa Cruz and the U of Montana, 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. He lives with his wife Vicki on California’s Central Coast.
If you like Nels' work, check out his piece, "A List", which was published by iō earlier this year.