Beyond much pain, some love,
I’ve come to understand without
guilt or pride I was always partly
absent, at a distance from the world
that seemed strange to me from
the first and then stranger in its
growing strangeness. Things hurt
mortally and didn’t hurt, their final
horror a random unlikeliness, even
love now the echo from a lost pure
well. I was a step to the side, spell-
bound by passing clouds, in the photo
the last child descending the hill.
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 has received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award and Pushcart nominations in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016. His poems have received a 2014 Pushcart nomination, Sharkpack Review’s 2014 Prospero Prize, and 2015 and 2016 Best of the Net nominations.