The Past

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.


The Past

Shall we return to yesteryear
as the ’50’s TV program beguiled,
someone whistling, then singing
Whistle me up a memory, whistle
Me back where I want to be?

Maybe, maybe not. Mother, Father,
Uncles, Aunts, Grandmothers,
Grandfathers, their Mothers, far
Father you were named after never
met except in an album stand again
like trees in a darkening forest with
a root-tangled path through woods
growing stranger, trunks with raised
bark of puzzle pieces that don’t fit
when last star fades, your shadow
dissolves and alone your ghost
stumbles deeper toward a dim cave
where a weak fire is smoking or
the clearing west of Nod as naked
Eve and Adam arrive famished
at a burdened branch of red apples
God put there for them to taste.

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