October 8, 2014

Al Ortolani

The Fifteen Dollar Vacation

Two teachers on winter break access Netflix
and download all five seasons of Breaking Bad.
She makes popcorn and he brings in a 12-pack
from the garage. Somewhere in season two
he lights his father’s calabash and stokes it
with the stash he found in the evergreen
across the street. They dim the lights and put the set
on mute. Like kids, they text secret messages
to each other, phones on vibrate. He wakes after
midnight to the wind—tree limbs tapping the siding,
sighing as snow runs the eaves, corners
the chimney. She is still sleeping, the blue throw
pulled up to her chin. The couch is narrow—
the remote control lost in the cushions.


Al Ortolani is a public school teacher in the Kansas City area. His poetry and reviews have appeared in New Letters, The Quarterly, The English Journal, New York Quarterly and other fine places. He has published several books of poetry: The Last Hippie of Camp 50 and Finding the Edge, from Woodley Press, Wren's House, from Coal City Press, and Cooking Chili on the Day of the Dead, from Aldrich Press. He is an editor for The Little Balkans Review and works closely with the Kansas City Writer's Place.

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