Dying stinks on a cat. His preening has stopped, no longer licking his paws or cleaning his coat. He slinks and crowds toward the milk plate, bones like loose bundles of fishing poles, hooked claws, sinker eyes, a jar of blood bait hardened to paste. Demanding privacy, he disappears into quiet corners of the garden. At night, he is just a small swell of moonlight behind the rhododendron. In the morning his face is turned upwards like he was searching the sky.
slow rain before dawn,
owl calling beyond
the churchyard pines
Al Ortolani’s poetry and reviews have appeared, or are forthcoming, in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, and the New York Quarterly. He has published six collections of poetry. Currently, he is teaching English in the Kansas City area and serves on the Board of Directors of the Writers Place. His poems been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.