Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sleeping in Railroad Cave by Al Ortolani

We woke in the darkness, looking out

into the light, the entrance curtained

with ice. The sunlight caught

as it would behind a window,

luminescent like the first sun.

Already, trickles of melt were running

in barely detectable currents, cold beads

on the tips of the frozen. By mid-morning,

the ice would drop, a harvest loosened

from the limestone. Reluctantly,

we kicked our way out. The span of ice

shattered with the force of our boots

across the leaf fall. We emerged

into the early sun, cold pinching our nostrils,

each step a snapping twig, a circling crow,

a woodpecker drumming dead wood.

Al Ortolani's newest collection, Paper Birds Don’t Fly, will be released in 2016 from New York Quarterly Books. His poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, and New York Quarterly. His poems been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Currently, he teaches English in the Kansas City area.

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