A man with a beard on a snowy evening,
stands on the roadside beside his mailbox.
He looks about with expectation, up the road,
then down. He returns to his house empty-handed
and waits at the round table in the long dusk.
Sparrows settle in the rose hips. Tomorrow
is a turn of the moon. As the day drains into night,
coyotes nose up from the creek bed, slipping
between strands of fence. When all is said,
the coffee poured into a single cup, a coyote crosses
a patch of window, more smoke than blood.
Al Ortolani’s newest collection, Paper Birds Don’t Fly, was released in 2016 from New York Quarterly Books. His poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, and the 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.