Vacation Pictures from a Friend | Nels Hanson

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Photo credit: Carolyn Phares

They’re simply great! You say that tall noble regal
bird’s a tiger heron? How delicate the back’s black-
striped mottling, yellow under dagger beak and rosy
tan all down the breast. In the second shot its profile

looks like a flicker’s. The scary insect on the tree trunk?
Those large sharp claws appear a lobster’s. Gorgeous
dining room, happy faces of handsome women at ease
without men. The blue-black bird resembles grackles

I saw years ago in Oaxaca, enormous blackbirds or
small crows, but with tails long and tipped, vertically,
not flat. Baby hawk or something falcon-sized as
California sparrow hawks? That oscillated turkey

is the most amazing colored huge bird, counting blue-
green peacocks I fed corn once at the zoo. (A dim
memory of the fearsome Australian cassowary that’s
extra cruel, not gentle, but doesn’t hold a candle: see

link below). The shelved sheets of jade or turquoise,
lapis lazuli, black silver and especially the russet gold
shine and glimmer, beat paper thin, fantastic metals
made of secret jewels saved from Montezuma’s lost

treasure house. Mexicans since Mayan, Toltec and Aztec
days love turkey and Sunday serve strong mole with
chocolate sauce both sweet and bitter, like much of life,
but not the feast your green eyes found in Yucatan.

Nels Hanson has worked as a farmer, teacher, and contract writer/editor. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz and the University of Montana and his fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award. His stories have appeared in Antioch Review, Texas Review, Black Warrior Review, Southeast Review, Montreal Review, and other journals. “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, Jellyfish Whispers, and other magazines.

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