Canoeing in Ice Storm

by Al Ortolani

A hooded crow shrugs, clenches
and unclenches his talons,
sidestepping to the end of the branch,
the black of his eye slick like glass.
A man and a woman
paddle in a dome of gray,
connected by the conversation of the canoe: the plop
of paddle, the trickle
of keel, the spit
of ice upon the gunnels. The man watches
the vapor of her breath, a cloud of warmth,
a blue jay from a nest.

Al Ortolani is a teacher in the Kansas City area. His poetry has appeared in Wilderness, The English Journal, The New York Quarterly, The Laurel Review, and others. Presently, He is a co-editor of The Little Balkans Review, nestled in the strip pits of southeast Kansas. His second book of poetry, Finding the Edge, is due out this spring from Woodley Press at Washburn University.

Back to Issue Ten: Winter 2011