Presences

By Nels Hanson

I grew up a farmer and everywhere
glowed talismans, ancient vineyard
wagons, harrow and plow, in barns

and sheds harness and horse collars,
two-man saws, double-bladed axes,
scythes, anvil, discarded kerosene

lantern, lamps, wood coffee grinder.
Farmers never throw anything away –
it might be handy. I swung a sledge

hammer, felt the hands that gripped
smooth ash handle. When I walked
vine rows I found iron shoes, pliers,

Belgian’s molar white as ivory. All
was alive, a presence, ghost, friend,
cold pump water, leaf, evening star

saying nothing can die or disappear
but always at its heart the spirit it is
remains and that spirit lives forever.

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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, and 2014. His poems appeared in Word Riot, Oklahoma Review, Pacific Review, and other magazines and received a 2014 Pushcart nomination, Sharkpack Review’s 2014 Prospero Prize, and 2015 and 2016 Best of the Net nominations.

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