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Nels Hanson

The Farewell

It was a dark black mask, and I 

thought it looked OK. It looked 

like the Lone Ranger –

The President


Against immortal evil in this

world justice fails, our legend 

falls in broken circles, a spent

arrow. Old Friend, the Ranger 

asked, tell me what I must do. 

Leave the black mask, quick

pistols, let rain wash the pure

bullets back to the lost mine. 

Unsaddle the stallion Silver, 

no bridle, and if he bears you 

ride until the place he knows. 

And you, at trail’s end, Wise 

Companion? I travel north for

one mountain there, to rest, to

lie down and sleep 100 years. 


I think I drank too much

last night or something

else is wrong a doctor

might diagnose. Blink


at the TV and flowing

stripes and stars turn

to a symbol I won’t 

name, what someone 


named in some book 

years ago a crooked 

cross. Our leader with 

orange hair wore black 


mustache, a toothbrush, 

and struck a pose I’ve 

seen before, the history 

channel, as an adoring 


crowd in red baseball 

caps raised stiff right 

arms and I imagined

I’d awakened in a bed 


turned time machine. 

I must be crazy. Surely 

they wouldn’t do it all 

again, would they? I ask 


you, Stranger, while I 

dial 911, an emergency 

that needs explaining to 

the operator I can’t see.

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