A dark haired girl sits in the center of the choir room pecking out songs on the piano. Her classmates are giggling through study hall. Some lounge on the floor texting, studying their phone screens. Another has isolated herself and connects dots in an AP English assignment. The girl at the piano returns to a fragment of a song which is reminiscent of McCartney’s “Golden Slumbers.” She plays around the melody. Maybe her song is something else, something more modern. Nevertheless, the energy in the room settles, girl linked to girl at 10 a.m.
slits of sunlight
through winter blinds, dancing
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 Binghampton Univesity in New York. A seventh collection, Paper Birds Don’t Fly, was released by New York Quarterly Books in April of 2016. He teaches English in the Kansas City area. His poems been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.