Sunday, 4 April 2021


Landlady #9

by Tobi Alfier

She loves maps and keeps an atlas by her bed.
Tucked into the page of South Africa, a love letter.

Par Avion, the thin tissue with wispy thoughts
of love not to be, she let him go back to his family.

It was the right thing, and now she turns the pages
night after night, hoping to dream of beautiful

seas shaped like the clouds she watches overhead.
She waits for the pill to take effect, to soothe her back

and ready her for whatever the next day will bring.
Even sweeping hurts, and she wants to plant the walk

with colors of orange and yellow for sentimental
reasons. She is not reduced by her lost love, rather she

walks taller because of it, and she moves on.
He taught her many things, but mostly he taught her

that she was beautiful, the sweetness of her
redolent of Muscat and mint, with overtones

of lemon that he will never forget. She is ready,
the glow of their sweet laughter defining her

for the next one, the next one who wants her
for always, with no choice to be made.

The one who pins the atlas at her heart
and searches the stars until he finds her.

* * * * *

"Landlady #9" was previously published in Bellowing Ark (2009), Verse Virtual (November 2015), and it is part of Tobi Alfier's collection Slices of Alice (Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library, 2018)

Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee.  “Symmetry: earth and sky” was published by Main Street Rag. Her chapbook “Grit & Grace” was published by Orchard Street Press (March, 2021). She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (

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