Wedding on a Village Street
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.
Groans like a Roofer
night of trains, I am
like a moth. Each thought
me from dark shadow
glowing bulb. I listen in
quiet hours for a distinct
that will speak
the clatter of boxcars,
the morning has big shoulders.
broadens in the east, strong from
hoisting asphalt shingles
ladders, the sun
the roof like the two
of the moon. Even the traffic
onto the interstate,
groans up the freeway ramps.
Al Ortolani's poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Prairie Schooner, New Letters, The Midwest Quarterly, The English Journal, and the New York Quarterly. He has four books of poetry, The Last Hippie of Camp 50 and Finding the Edge, published by Woodley Press at Washburn University, Wren's House, published by Coal City Press in Lawrence, Kansas, and Cooking Chili on the Day of the Dead from Aldrich Press in Torrance, California. He is an editor for The Little Balkans Review and is on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writer's Place.