77. Summer Storm Among the Strip Pits

I have parked on a dump that overlooks

the water. Kingfishers slap surface,

dip and cut wide figure eights, lifting

like flapping hands into the sky.

Rain comes, peppering the surface

like thousands of winged insects, tapping

light fingers against the roof of my van.

Curtains blow. From the tops of poplars

I hear the wind moan, turning the alkali

over upon itself, the clay mixing

with gray shale, trickling

down from the tailings. The small soil

that runs between roots of a willow

clouds the vacant water

and spreads like the spawn of fish.

— 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.

One thought on “77. Summer Storm Among the Strip Pits

  1. I appreciate this poem even more as I listen to the much-needed rain softly kiss the dry ground following several days of excessive heat. The poet’s vivid imagery is much appreciated!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s