Good News at Sunset

Nels Hanson

Evening air glowed warm, still

forever, sky that pearl gold-silver

before dark cobalt turns to night.

I almost floated, amazed by 20

lit lovely faces, strangers passing

sidewalks starred with flecks of

quartz and iron pyrite. Cars shone

just painted, storefronts’ textured

bricks breathed amber light, each

priceless, different from the rest

and I remembered how everything

blazed luminous pure hours on

mescaline in Debbie James’ fenced

yard near Portland, thirsty monarch

butterflies casting striped orange

shade through black-striped wings

and ruby-throated hummingbirds

in emerald armor arriving always

right on time with lacquered bills

drinking the yellow Cardinal roses.

Veined petals’ dust burned bright

as Mars or Venus and dandelions

flaring to saffron suns flamed out

in quick shadow, gray cloud, until

bronze grass blades waving indigo

flashed sharper, fresh glint-edged

sabers from a forge. I lay on soft

jade lawn listening to the mourning

dove’s call falling and falling, blue

water pooling from the prune tree

by the porch. I felt sober and high

and at The Rose Cafe I started for

the lunch counter then swerved

with sudden shiver of a compass

needle to the dining room’s white

standing napkins folded the way

wading birds start to fly, waiting

goblets and red pressed tablecloth,

the purple lily in the crystal vase.

Nels Hanson has worked as a farmer, teacher and contract writer/editor. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz and the U of Montana, and his fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award. His stories have appeared in more than 100 literary magazines, including Antioch Review, Texas Review, Black Warrior Review, Southeast Review, Montreal Review, The Long Story, and South Dakota Review. “Now the River’s in You,” which appeared in Ruminate Magazine, was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize, and “No One Can Find Us,” in Ray’s Road Review, has been nominated for the 2012 Pushcart Prizes. Poems have appeared in Poetry Porch, Atticus Review, Red Booth Review, Meadowlands Review, Emerge Literary Review, Language and Culture, Shot Glass, Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine, Jellyfish Whispers, and other magazines, and are in press at Oklahoma Review and Paradise Review.