A dozen cranes stand in flood waters. They are as stoic as statues. Even the eighteen-wheelers roaring down the highway do not disturb their quiet. The berm of the road cuts the water—drivers with deadlines, hauling fast food, livestock, refrigerated milk. They push into the wind, birds poised, bones and toe prints, radios and country music. Jake braking the slow curve, they swell the bridge at Trading Post. The Osage River swallows the fields—deer path, mussel shell, weeping willow.
in the bridge eddy,
a beer bottle
polished to stone
Al Ortolani’s 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. His fifth book, Waving Mustard in Surrender, was released by New York Quarterly Books in 2014. He is on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writers Place and is an editor with The Little Balkans Review.