Night Visit – by Nels Hanson

Last night like numerous nights I walked
the farm again, each alleyway past Thompson
Seedless vines, plum orchards of Royal Diamond,
Black Beauty, four kinds of Asian apple pear,
persimmons, figs, old English walnut trees, our
patch of tomatoes each year for farmer’s market
on the coast, pond where we rowed and planted
bass and catfish, blue gill. My grandparents’ two
story house remains, barn and tractor shed, deep
pump drawing sweet groundwater in a rush you
catch with the empty beer can on a wire. I take
a long cold drink and it all returns, all I knew so
well I visit only in sleep or broken memory, lost
land in heaven now, no longer there on Mountain
View Avenue two miles west of the town of Selma
in the wide San Joaquin. Before the smog, snowy
Mt. Wilson stands tall straight down the narrow
road’s white line that leads you to the summit.

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.

Photographer’s Note: The use of a light vignette portrays the nostalgia/dream depicted in this piece. I chose a serene barn scene to represent the speaker’s fond memories of visits to his grandparents’ farm.