White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Jo Ann Baldinger
Jo Ann Baldinger lives in Portland, Oregon, where she writes poems, practices yoga, and tries to be patient. Her poems have appeared in Burningword, Verdad, Cirque, Blue Mesa, Tsunami, and Onthebus.

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Jo Ann Baldinger



What little town was that where we quit the bus too soon

alighting in a clog of motorbikes

and had to hike up a winding road to the Old Town


built atop the highest hill around (because

that used to be the point: make it hard to reach)

toting knapsacks crammed with underwear and art supplies,


each privately blaming the other for getting off

prematurely while aloud we remarked on the strange

familiarity of the landscape, its cypress trees


and olive trees, the crazy quilt of vineyards

that fell away as we climbed until at last we staggered

sundazed into the piazza with its one hotel, where


we dumped our bags in the lobby to follow a shy youth

with bad skin who led us down the hall to a dark room

and flung wide the tall wooden shutters, sending a bunch



Jo Ann Baldinger

of drowsy barn swallows into a spiral of glossy wings

lifting into blue light that seemed to pour from heaven

to the hazed hills and broad valley below, which


we finally recognized from every quattrocento

Madonna-and-child, while the pimply boy

turned to us and asked “Is OK?”










Copyright © Jo Ann Baldinger. White Whale Review, issue 5.1

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