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Father Barnabas by Al Ortolani

Father Barnabas, the guest master,
rides his bicycle before vespers.
He changes into street clothes
and pedals down the blacktop, straight
backed and rigid as a mast.
On Sundays and Saint’s Days, he wears
his cloister’s black and white,
hikes his hem to the handle bars and billows
like a striped sail, rising and falling
along the prairie highway, tacking
the green swells of tall grass
on his squeaking Schwinn. He pedals
in sunlight, a heartbeat from the sea.

Al Ortolani is a co-editor of The Little Balkans Review. He has performed with White Buffalo Poetry and Song in Kansas, Missouri, and Colorado. His poetry has appeared in the Midwest Quarterly, the New York Quarterly, The Laurel Review, Wilderness, The Quarterly, Cottonwood Review, Coal City Review, The English Journal and many others. His haiku have appeared in numerous journals on 4 continents. He has published one chapbook, Slow Stirring Spoon, High/Coo Press and two collections of poetry from Woodley Press, The Last Hippie of Camp 50 and Finding the Edge.