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January 2017, vol 12 no 4

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Al Ortolani

Death is a Sneeze


Little poem that makes me no money. Little poem that I cannot eat or barter for rent. Little poem in the roadside weeds beside the early asparagus, the first clover bloom. A short sneeze of haiku, pollen septum. Monkey mind has me in its grip. I want to hold something, to accumulate, to own. The job drags. The sky grays. The air cools. Little poem in my backpack, you are scrawled in pencil. It took a page of notes to find you, lead scratch marks, margin doodles, a line, a syllable crossed out, chucked into the mulch pile. The spring wind cleans the patio. Nothing remains but three lines.Yesterday, I cut the grass. Today, I’m wearing the same grass stained pants, my old shoes double-knotted for the next step.

april grave,
daughter spreads new seed
over turned earth


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