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Nels Hanson

Poor Doors
Sheriff Stars

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle
bedroom tax
Disrupt and Upset

Night Thoughts


Moonlight through the tilted slats of blinds

invented in Persia historians say, brought

by daring Italian traders to a city of legend


and canals, gondolas, singing gondoliers

pushing poles through its muddy shallows  

floats across my floor a raft loosely woven


of raffia, the coarse palm frond brown hands

stitch into hats. Lucky my river is laminate

and not the slender Rio Grande’s foul waters


tonight a black-haired woman with a black-

haired child sets sail on, her blown-up rubber

ark you see on lakes in summer or wafting


sleepers circling backyard pools. Hours ago

the TV newsman explained those voyagers

are refugees, escaping from the country of


El Salvador, which means “The Savior” in

another language. Blood keeps falling there

like heavy rain turned red until even fishes


fail to navigate a thicker element. Old Rivers

of Babylon, River Styx, Acheron the Greek

“River of Woe,” Truckee River and Kings


the Japanese crossed toward the desert camp

at Manzanar, narrow stream called Jordan

where a white dove flew down, descending


envoy of the Holy Ghost as the long-haired

man who begins the long journey to a cross

is lifted by gentle cousin John to the surface


again, what city lies beyond green willows

on that farther bank, towers like wavering

mirages this dawn appearing about to fall?

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.

bedroom tax
Sheriff Stars

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle
Disrupt and Upset

Militant Thistles

prickling the politics of "permanent austerity"

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