I went to her house.
You were lounged on her couch
in a jacket I didn’t know you owned,
feet up on her shabby table,
reading in silence.
I said let’s call Emily,
swing by her man’s house
and all meet for dinner.
You said something
I don’t recall, and I went
for the phone. On the floor,
four perfect stapled pages,
lined like your beloved
yellow pads. The heading said:
“The Week of Loving Emily”
Four pages of poems I didn’t know,
sent off to journals obscure to me,
the last two to the army. I knew
Emily’s man, a caber tossing
roughneck of a bloke, did not
write these. I knew they were yours.
Emily answered quite chirpy,
got less and less so as she explained
that no, it would not be a good
idea, her man was playing music
with friends, did not want company—
I was sad, got more and more down
as she spoke. I knew you were
not coming home with me.
Emily had a Scottish accent,
you did as well. I just left,
I don’t know how I sounded,
just broken hearted.
Crumpled – dollars pulled out of your pocket,
thrown on the table with almost disdain.
The way you form your lips when trying to
whistle, crooked and crumpled. How I
feel when I fold myself on the massage chair,
legs turned under like the wings
of a bird fallen from under the eaves before
learning to fly. Palms up in quiet surrender
I let everything go, folded and breathing
while a man who I don’t know
lifts my hair once, twice, and
lays palms to places only lovers should explore.
You don’t go there. Ever? I can’t remember.
I share secrets I don’t even know.
Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee. Her full-length collection “Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn’t Matter Where” was published by Kelsay Books. “Slices of Alice & Other Character Studies” was published by Cholla Needles Press. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).