The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Al Ortolani

Wedding on a Village Street

after Chagall

A man and a woman ride a rooster from

the town where they were born. The groom

wraps his arms around the bride's shoulders.

She has trouble catching her breath—

her wedding shawl as white as the rooster

that carries them. It is evening, the sky

indigo, the moon like a finger nail. In early

summer there is little fear of the days

growing short, or the nights, not being

long enough. The lovers believe no one

has known passion before this moment,

so deep with falling. Already, the rooster

plans for morning. The world rises

in the east with a clutch of forget-me-nots.

Morning Groans like a Roofer


Another night of trains, I am

sleepless like a moth. Each thought

pushes me from dark shadow

to glowing bulb. I listen in

the quiet hours for a distinct

voice—one that will speak

through the clatter of boxcars,

but the morning has big shoulders.

It broadens in the east, strong from

lifting, hoisting asphalt shingles

up ladders, the sun

splitting the roof like the two

sides of the moon. Even the traffic

muscling onto the interstate,

groans up the freeway ramps.

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