Monday, January 24, 2022

Nearing Sedalia by Al Ortolani

There’s a silo along the highway
with a tree growing out of it, the top
branches splayed across the sky
like an umbrella, like an anemone.

It’s a landmark for us as we drive
across Missouri, as much a mile marker
as a small town, a fishing creek
with an iron bridge, a cemetery

in a children’s game.

We watch for it on the hill
behind the barn, behind the ghost sign
faded across the barn roof:
hickory baskets, walnut bowls, moccasins.

The silo is made from tile bricks,
carefully cemented, the domed roof
of sheet metal and wood collapsed,
blown into the pasture, the sapling

in a cylinder of sun.

Al Ortolani is the Manuscript Editor for Woodley Press in Topeka, Kansas, and has directed a memoir writing project for Vietnam veterans across Kansas in association with the Library of Congress and Humanities Kansas. He is a 2019 recipient of the Rattle Chapbook Series Award.

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