25. Reading William Stafford in a Snowstorm

His lines are plowed evenly,

Yet I can seldom predict

Where they will break into drifts.

Here by the bookshelf

Then there by the window

And last, by the blown-open door

Where suddenly I am falling

With the wild driving snow to

Some dark road in Kansas

Which in narrowing its shoulders

To a footpath

Catches me

Shallow like a snow angel, then

Sinking deeper in

The great, cold billows, I find depths

Made for burrowing

Snow caves

Beneath the howling night.

— Al Ortolani

Al Ortolani has been teaching in Kansas for 37 years. His poetry has appeared in the Midwest Quarterly, The English Journal, The Laurel Review and others. His second book of poetry Finding the Edge will be published by Woodley Press in 2011. He is currently co-editor of The Little Balkans Review.


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