The best I could I wrote down
       what the mockingbird sang and
       the sparrow said, the owl’s calm
       hymn as King of Night, mourning
       dove’s lament from dark walnut
       tree at dusk. I heard grasses sigh,
       rising, falling in waves as wind
       in a Gulf Stream surged across
       wide plain, rattling heart-shaped
       dry cottonwood leaves like sticks
       rubbed together making gold fire,
       watched the river’s bluest flames
       to learn their passing mantra that
       remembers only the waiting sea.
       Long hours I traced a full moon
       cast down black ocean one white
       road all dreamers follow toward
       waking. I witnessed a dawn sun’s
       saffron return and shadowed hill
       reveal its green, a hummingbird’s
       sudden glinting armor, an emerald
       portal beckoning our steps for a
       secret city each morning promises
       we almost reach by each day’s end.

Nels Hanson has been a farmer, teacher, and editor. His fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award and Pushcart nominations in 2010, 2012, and 2014. His poems have received a 2014 Pushcart nomination, Sharkpack Review’s 2014 Prospero Prize, and 2015 and 16 Best of the Net nominations.