Al Ortolani


Detroit is losing to Kansas City
in the bottom of the sixth. A friend posts
a picture on Facebook from behind third base.
He has no clue that he almost killed me earlier
hurrying through traffic on I-35. Hat tipped
like one of Whitman’s “roughs,” he grins
as easily as the day we paddled the Buffalo,
summer on the water, bird song in the wind,
fish shadows weaving the river bottom.
A fisherman, knee deep in green,
offers us a hit. He squeezes
a joint in his fingertips, arm outstretched,
the current swinging us in a one eighty.
The man has a stringer of smallmouth,
glistening like suns at his feet, gill-strung,
flanks-up, laboring like there is no end.


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