A Woman Rehearsed

Low on daylight and cash,
lower on trust, she is a relic
of her own wretched history.

Like phases of the moon
sometimes she disappears,
comes blazing back—

she’s her own total eclipse.
Hides under a streetlight,
hides under the stairs,

casts no shadow,
makes no sound.
Always a good girl.

She bargains with demons,
hotwires cars,
gambles on charm.

Rolls triple Jacks,
taps out with twenty-two,
drinks free, tips shitty,

gets lost in the sound of the waves,
the profiles of shadows.
she’ll come back when she wants.

She’s a barn owl, a feral cat,
a coyote, she’s a beast.
She stalks the seasons in darkness,

drifts in the ether of memory.
She sings with birds, howls with forest winds
but under the stairs…not a whisper.

Tobi Alfier

Tobi Alfier is published nationally and internationally. Credits include War, Literature and the Arts, The American Journal of Poetry, KGB Bar Lit Mag, Washington Square Review, Cholla Needles, James Dickey Review, Gargoyle, Permafrost, Arkansas Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, and others.  She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review.