Cemetery as Dog Park
Sunday afternoon—a cold gray nips
the air—the same gray that drove us
as boys to the cemetery, where sheltered
in the evergreens, protected from the wind,
we planned our futures, one dog
or another panting at our feet. Fifty
years is a long time for boys, an impossibility
for dogs, a big nothing for the sun. Even
the cold, creeping slowly into our thighs,
is as temporary as juniper berries, bag worms,
sprawling limbs. Memory comes and goes
as we count the winters, the dogs that
licked their balls, chewed our shoes,
ran into traffic like happy fools.
Poem by Al Ortolani (USA)
Published in The Ofi Press issue 37.
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, will be released by New York Quarterly Books later in 2014. He is on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writers Place and is an editor with The Little Balkans Review.
Image: "Stray in Evergeen Cemetary" by Valli Mark.
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