Two Poems by W. Dale Nelson


The Missile Garden: White Sands, New Mexico

Here, when the Lark, the Falcon and the Loon
flew toward the desert sky for war or weather,
a rancher owned a metal violin.

A camera, the kind they used for Gone
With the Wind, was camouflaged in the garden to explore
the path of lark, of falcon, and of loon.

Those in the uniforms were cameramen.
A war was on. The army took the air
the rancher owned. His metal violin

lies rusted on a shelf, an exhibition.
It came from Czechoslovakia, and was rare.
Outside, the Lark, the Falcon and the Loon

are still. Does anybody know this tune?
On horseback or afoot, did anyone hear
the rancher play his metal violin?

The objects in the museum do not explain.
Yet once upon a time there was a war,
and beneath the lark, the falcon and the loon,
a rancher owned a metal violin.

A Statement to the Police

They gave me all my warnings and I wept.
If I said my father sent me from a star
become a station distant beyond depth,
they could use that star against me. When I swore
the day my house blew up I bought the town
because a dark machine controlled my life,
I told what truths I could. That precinct station
like a star was where I came to grief.
Denying guilt, I told what shadows crossed.
My counsel darkness counseled me to silence;
I hunched my shoulders to the bone and blessed
the stations that I rode to innocence.

W. Dale Nelson