Friday 4 June 2021



by Tobi Alfier

A pale woman takes her tea alone
in her courtyard, the porcelain cup
as fine as her features. Black hair
with just a whisper of white cascades
down her back like a Gauguin painting.

Her lips, the perfect ballerina pink, are pursed
in thoughts between sips of Earl Grey.
Her bare feet are casual and comfortable
even though the patterned tiles are cold.

Hard winter days are changing into spring.
The odd dust devil kicks its heels up
the unpaved road outside her patio, masks the colors
of early wildflowers we can never praise enough
as they start to peek through mudded earth

in the fields beyond. When she was small,
her father whittled flutes and birds she still has,
though his absence hollows her days. The sound
of the Southern Pacific reminds her he is always watching.

Such begins each day. Aftertraces of the scent
of aftershave lightly on the early breeze bring memories
of a fading spark that blew out too quickly,
and much to silently remember.

* * * * *

“Aftertraces” was first published in Cholla Needles and is part of Tobi Alfiers new chapbook Grit & Grace.”

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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