Circulation by Michael Nelson

 The hawk hovers over the prairie.sledding2

As I approach, lifts and turns, lands

on a hickory branch. Her wings arc, the tail

spans and burns red in the autumn sun. The gold

ribbon grass glows as everything in me slows.

All the beauty moves down the draw

into the basin of me. The streams

of garnet sumac do not deny. The caramel

oaks along the creeks coach me.


The north wind brings lightness to my step.

The massive Black Angus bull studies me.

A new mother cries in alarm. The herd runs

up the hill except for the bull who watches me

until I shimmy under the barbed wire fence. Out here


the roll and rise of the hill’s tawny flanks

brush me into a silky sweep.

I’m mollusk fossil, cow paddy, coyote chorus…

A wild dance takes me. As dad’s decreasing

circulation brings him to a stop I resume

the unfinished business of my childhood.

~ Michael Nelson


118. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Michael Nelson

Great Aunt Anna claimed everyone has a star.
At first you don’t know which is yours. It knows
without doubt who you are. You must go out

often, near and far. In the extremes
and sweet air seek what’s lost. Find your place

in the milky way. Shine on flanks
of Flint Hills cougar into the big blue stems
head of seeds, down the stock, sixteen feet through limestone

cracks where scientists say sixty per cent of life
lives—throughout the hard stuff and fine root hairs.