Rodney Nelson


you hike a narrow ledge
up on the gorge’s wall
and are alone on rock

that matters and you seem
to be the matter too
in the afternoon heat

and rock has not to do
with you nor can you see
a human face on it

but in a painting of
the same gorge tomorrow
you will find more than one

will need another’s mind
and brush to wake you to
the origin of gods

which will not tend you to
personify and bow
next time you hike up here

just go remembering
to touch the rock is not
to be alone again


if I had waited that evening
and not resorted to word and deed
if I had given me ten minutes
I might have thought to wait until dawn
and walked in it to the tree garden
and contemplated what my saying
and doing would not have changed
       but I
had wanted to follow the love script
and let the wine make sure that I would
had let the abstract take me over
for ten minutes then out and away
though trees remained in the evening
and the curlews would arrive at dawn



rodney-nelson-dRodney Nelson’s work began appearing in mainstream journals long ago; but he turned to fiction and did not write a poem for twenty-two years, restarting in the 2000s. See his page in the Poets & Writers directory
He has worked as a copy editor in the Southwest and now lives in his native northern Great Plains. Recently published chapbook and book titles are MetacowboyMogollon PicnicHill of Better SleepFelton PrairieIn WaitCross Point Road,Late & Later, The Western Wide, Billy Boy, and Ahead of Evening.

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