The Secret

At the bank you discover
the Kaweah River remembers
its current, from the Valley
oak a mourning dove repeats
the old song. White clouds
pass where the wind says to
go, over sea and flatland for
the Sierras. At dark the loyal
stars shine the same and dim
as the sun keeps its promise,
each month the moon returns
from its absence. Scarlet glint,
the floating hawk’s tail asks
a question: Time to come back
now? You hear it everywhere,
muffled prayers past locked
doors, from strange masks in
the broken line: Can’t make
it on my own. By blue waters
on the stone shore you find
again cups in clean granite
where women ground bitter
acorns into meal. Nearby at
evening is a secret we didn’t
hear, the shy deer stepping
from silver willows to drink.

About the Author
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.