Poetry Porch: Poetry


Plane to Denver
by Nels Hanson

“‘Say there is a devil, an evil being with body

and face, hands like ours,’
a patient told me

once, a wealthy trial attorney certain all his

clients were guilty. ‘On one long finger He

wears a special ring that flickers bright and

dark, our Night and Day,’”
Dr. Edwards’

weary ghost whispered as my shoulders froze

and shivered before the cabin’s dim ceiling

shifted and I could leap up running the aisle’s

chute to wait alone in the locked bathroom

away from razor scarps changing to a dead

god’s jagged teeth. Sky beyond the porthole

appeared softer, shaded rose, lit by Earth light.

Warm sun bathed my arm as I glimpsed past

a distant crest a vast basin brimming gold.

I could breathe again and saw the jet’s frail

shadow crossing split towers of the terrible

ruined kingdom. Summits fell away easily

to gently sloping hills and wide valleys and I

leaned for a closer embrace. I saw the green

land unfold remembering lost Ellen loved

wildflowers, grasses, fresh hand-like summer

leaves she sketched in pastel or brushed

in careful watercolor. She knew the wren’s

bill and rakish cut of a waxwing’s black

mask, caught in one stroke the striped cap

of an English sparrow. In her fingers dull

rock came alive in a green-blue vein, all

rivers’ curving promise of a single source

and destination. Everything—plume and

pebble, catalpa’s jigsaw bark, spoked rays

of water beads after rain, persimmon on

the sill a setting sun passing seven bands

of orange—reflected a place beyond sight.

Her slightest gesture said “See?” until I

sensed a vantage the waking heart’s eye

might disover. When Ellen placed a foxtail

seed’s feathered arrow like a perfect dart

or blue robin egg’s calm oval in my palm

she meant to tell me it was impossible to die.

Copyright © 2013 by Nels Hanson.