Subscribe To Our
Poetrybay Blog on Facebook

Fall/Winter 2017

Al Ortolani


Aunt Dorothy, widowed for much
of her adult life, kept her husband’s hat
in the back window of her gold
Oldsmobile. It failed in the sunlight
to keep her from loneliness
on the weekly trip to the IGA, but
saved her (she insisted) from the mashers
(her word), the carjackers, the stalker
who might follow her home
to an empty house. Leaving a man’s hat
in the back of the car made sense
to her, a widow’s comfort,
as plumb as a locked door, almost
like having a husband at the hardware store
buying a dead bolt and a chain latch.

Al Ortolani was born in Huntington, New York and grew up in Pittsburg, Kansas. He was educated at Pittsburg State University and for the past 41 years has taught in Kansas schools in Baxter Springs, Pittsburg and Overland Park (Blue Valley) as well as an adjunct at Pittsburg State University. He is the author of six collections of poetry, including Paper Birds Donít Fly (NYQ, í16)




Poetrybay seeks fine poetry, reviews, commentary and essays without restriction in form or content, and reserves first electronic copyright to all work published. All rights to published work revert to the author following publication. All Email submissions should be in body of email text.

To submit poems write to:

PO Box 114 
Northport NY 11768
or email us at

send comments to

first electronic copyright 2004
©2018 poetrybay. 
all rights revert to authors

website comments to