February 11, 2016 by RJ


Last night the wind came up out of the south. I could hear it lifting the trees in the yard and banging against the aluminum storm window. I pulled the blanket higher after punching the pillow into its original thickness. The house rested in stillness, dark rooms spilling into the darker hallway. My wife, sunken in an Ambien oblivion, didn’t stir. Rain followed, splattering in gusts against the thin glass. A baseball bat leaned against the bedroom doorjamb. In tonight’s dim light it appeared small, even foolish against a formidable intruder. A good roof, caulked windows, a serviced furnace—the digital clock cuts the darkness.

mom’s bud vases
yellowed greetings tied
with florist ribbon



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. His Waving Mustard in Surrender (NYQ Books) was short-listed for the Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award from Binghamton University. A seventh collection, Paper Birds Don’t Fly, will be released by New York Quarterly Books in April of 2016. His poems been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

%d bloggers like this: