Two Poems

by Nels Hanson

Report

We incised the bald cadaver’s hairless
chest but hard as we probed failed to
find the heart, only emptiness of attic
room webbed with old strands of veins,

arteries, like a spider’s discarded silk –
Toddler’s pacifier, rag of child’s short
pants, two broken sticks and shreds of
once-blue paper (lost kite, like Charles

Foster Kane’s “Rosebud”?) I removed
carefully with forceps to bag for study.
Not a trace of perfume or torn lingerie
of the younger women he preyed upon,

no moldy dollar of millions swindled
from credulous victims even after his
election, just a single vial for tinting
the false orange hair. O Darkest Void,

mute as marble without one whisper’s
echo, Our Cruel Mirror, tell me how it
thrived without a vital organ pushing
blood, oxygen to lungs, the small brain

we discovered, body’s remaining soft
tissue fed on hamburgers and chocolate
cake? We expected to discern as usual
even in a president scars of love, loss,

regret, sin, areas where human wounds
scabbed over. Instead a gaping absence,
vacancy, sterile polar region, vast abyss
thousand fathoms deep in sunless ocean

floor, the commander’s closely guarded
anomaly kept from pliable physicians –
These sad remarks conclude my report,
this doctor’s first dissection of an alien.

Dracula

The orange-furred bat descending
on thunderous beating wings to grip

your shoulder with claws sprouted
from leathered wing-joints before it

pulls back lips to pierce with yellow
fangs your jugular and suck while

injecting vampire’s immortal curse
should make you thrust up a mirror,

wear garlic necklace, run screaming
from the White House for nearest

crucifix and yet you stay, apparently
already bitten, the living dead, asleep

in daylight and at night circling where
balding Dracula summons his slaves.


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 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.
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