Gift in Autumn

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July 1, 2013 by The Citron Review

by Nels Hanson

Paired Percherons the hands at morning
stand still in cuffs, strong horses waiting
guard all night. From grave her mother rose

in darkness, sewing hours while she slept.
Are they hungry, do they eat oats? Through
trees of scarlet apples they plodded deftly

over fallen limbs. She tries them like mittens
dyed white as flour, fine sand sifted onto
boots and khaki, tank and cannon mouth,

a general’s lost hearing aid. Sunday she’ll
cross herself and think of no map or her
husband in Afghanistan. Now she can touch

her son without fear for his father. In blue
robe at kitchen window she watches wind
march platoons of leaves to rows of slender

barracks with one bed. Hands know the way,
snow manes in cobalt collars pull as her cart
streams red and spokes spin deeper into dream.


Nels Hanson’s fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award and two Pushcart Prize nominations. Stories have appeared in Antioch Review, Texas Review, Black Warrior Review, Southeast Review, Montreal Review, and other journals. Poems are in press at The Oklahoma Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Poetry Porch, The Ilanot Review, Drunk Monkeys, and The Hoot & Hare Review.

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