top of page


Three days after your forty-seventh birthday,

a cool April afternoon,

you review the Kolkman file –

your shoulders hunched slightly

after reading the “further review order”

from the Iowa Supreme Court.


I mumble a man can only take so much.


You gaze up

as I walk past the bum dog and stretch out on the floor.

You talk about the process, the facts, the... –

silently, I curse the judges and opposing counsel and... –


and at the turn of my head, we are outside

where the sun disappears, the sky turning a pink ember.

You sent back inside to retrieve our jackets

tossing mine over, jesting with aim at my face.


After catching the baseball

you asked what school I wanted to... –


That night we smiled at the thought of our neighbors

hearing stories from our past,

and the crack of our gloves and our thick laughter.


John Hansen received a BA in English from the University of Iowa and an MA in English Literature from Oklahoma State University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Summerset Review, Trouvaille Review, 50-Word Stories, One Sentence Poems, The Dillydoun Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Eunoia Review, Oddball Magazine, Litro Magazine, Amethyst Review, Wild Roof Journal, Drunk Monkeys, and elsewhere. He is English Faculty at Mohave Community College in Arizona. Read more at

bottom of page