Day my friend Marvel the Magician
died I entered amid sad birdsong with
police and found his so familiar form

arranged full-length on the outspread
cape, black tails and top had, his hand
still grasping the Wonder Cane tipped

in silver. He wore the sapphire ring his
Master gave him from his own finger
when with a Presto! Marvel changed

a yellow Lab to Harlequin Great Dane
and back again, 10,000 clapping, dog
happy with a Milk Bone. Everywhere

white rabbits watched the quiet friend
perhaps awaiting his resurrection and
white doves perched on a curtain rod

cooed their lament. Steel solid hoops
in a tower stood by a crate of playing
cards, crystal vase and two blue lilies

with scent of roses, the famous mirror-
lined Disappearing Cabinet coffin-like
for one last great illusion. The sergeant

opened the magic trunk, its lid adorned
with gold comets and stars. He held up
a leaf-green book, read until his knees

wobbled and he shoved it toward me.
I saw his name, dates, Marvel’s, mine,
my father’s, mother’s, lost old friends’,

maybe yours, people you know, sudden
pages appearing as the thick tome grew
heavier, heavy as the moon, I thought

and let it fall through hardwood floor,
The Book of Life and Death so weighty
with the lives of all the souls on Earth.


Nels Hanson

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.