Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cow Creek Snow by Al Ortolani

I remember you running
through the curtain
that was the door to your
bedroom, and retrieving
a hatchet from under
your bed, just a fragment
of a memory, boys
with important plans
that required a small axe
to cull a clearing
along Cow Creek, sharpening
stakes into lances
for a rampart, or rather,
a redoubt.

I sent flowers to the funeral home
after a Facebook post, having read
that you were a grandfather,
retired from a lifetime
of sharpening stakes, from
tearing down and rebuilding
in a town we'd never considered
as boys. Along Cow Creek
in the dense vine-hung woods,
we found a fox skin in the snow,
you peeled it from the bone
with the hatchet's edge, the fox’s
red tail soft, windswept
in the winter sun.

Al Ortolani’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, and Tar River Poetry. His newest collection, On the Chicopee Spur, will be released from New York Quarterly Books in the Spring of 2018. Ortolani is the Manuscript Editor for Woodley Press in Topeka, Kansas, and directs a memoir writing project for Vietnam veterans across Kansas in association with the Library of Congress and Humanities Kansas.

No comments:

Post a Comment