Tobi Alfier




Some Neighbors Refuse to Become Words

Old Smoky came home last night.
We hadn’t seen her in days.
Standing in our front window,
we could watch their big screen TV
across the street—pretty sure
that porn at 65 inches wouldn’t lure
no one home for nothin’.

But there she finally was.
Her dime store perfume
cutting through the odor
of sticky-floored bookstore bullshit,
liars getting rolls of quarters, and tissues, for 15 seconds
of dirty feet and eyes rolling toward heaven,
her husband getting it all at home.

Bitterness fights a soldier’s war with beauty.
We know she knows if she stays,
she’s going down with the ship.
We see her, but we don’t know her,
we can hear the click of her metallic Zippo lighter
but we can’t hear her beg for anyone’s mercy.

He drinks himself into an early sleep.
She puts on a ball game and a peignoir
the violet of the vanishing sky.
The sadness of her wanderer’s face is clear,
just before the curtains fall. We feel
voyeuristic, dirty, and very very lucky.



Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee.  Current chapbooks are The Coincidence of Castles from Glass Lyre Press, Romance and Rust from Blue Horse Press, and Down Anstruther Way (Scotland poems) from FutureCycle Press. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (

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