Kayaking the Upper Buffalo

Whitewater rainbows in spray, pool dropping between willows, river birch, driftwood—three buzzards, droop-shouldered, perch in ash. Popping lid on tin of sardines, one bird lifts immediately into flight, begins to turn circles on wingtip. Sun splashes off standing waves, dampens limestone, dries, dampens. Mayapple umbrellas below blackjack oaks. Blue-tailed skink skitters into patch of sun.

drifting hawk,

a broken shadow

circles the bluff



About the Poet:
Al Ortolani’s newest collection of poems, Paper Birds Don’t Fly, was released in 2016 from New York Quarterly Books. His poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, and New Letters. His poems been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and he has recently been featured on the Writer’s Almanac.



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