Kansas as Wine Dark Sea
Sometimes on misty mornings—
I stand as Odysseus at the window,
floating on the roof of a barn.
The pitch is steep so I have to straddle
the peak, each leg planted
by a rubber-soled shoe. I hold
the weathervane, one of the few
originals roosters in the county, and
by leaning left or right, I pretend to sail
through waves of fog, lightning rods
trailing behind like untied
ropes from a mast. Pretty much
that’s where it ends—a few curtains
of disguise. Chickens rattle through
the open doors. A black snake
muscles below the hay bales.
Penelope teaches Honors English
to ninth graders in Overland Park.
Telemachus, a KU graduate,
has moved to an apartment
near a micro-brew in Waldo.
Al Ortolani is a high school English teacher. His poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Word Riot, and the New York Quarterly. He has four books of poetry, The Last Hippie of Camp 50 and Finding the Edge, published by Woodley Press at Washburn University, Wren's House, published by Coal City Press in Lawrence, Kansas, and Cooking Chili on the Day of the Dead from Aldrich Press in Torrance, California. He is on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writers Place and is an editor with The Little Balkans Review.
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