Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.

January Moth

Yesterday, a moth flew through the open door
and tapped the light over the sink. January—
touch and go for a moth—even house-bound,
the cold climbs onto his wings. Already, he is less
than he was, ridden by the window’s draft—
the brief warm spell ended, blinds shut.
I balance the old wall clock, wind the mainspring
and give the pendulum a push. It ticks through
the night and into the following week. The front
blows so hard that the windows flex like plastic
sheeting. My wife grades essays; her reflection
quivers with each gust, her bathrobe pulled
high to the nape of her neck. The cat nests
between the papers for 3rd and 4th hours.
Al Ortolani is a high school English teacher. His 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. He is on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writers Place.

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