jessica mullen CC
Parking Lot Bytes
She had short hair and man’s shoes
orange, without adornment
she walked to her car and stood there
arms crossed, looking around.
What were we supposed to say?
Always a package of Marlboros
lean against the light post
it teases him; he hasn’t had
a cigarette in 30 years, though
he’s had many drinks.
Sunday weather, Sunday clouds,
cool and breezy, still the sun
ricochets off windshields…
Once there was a gray van
with a gray dog inside
sitting in the driver’s seat.
When the owner came out
he was also gray. Hair to shirt
to shoes, demeanor to match.
All the regulars and permanent
homeless wanderers have nicknames
given to them by us. When we
found out Carol’s name was really Beverly
we still called her Carol. She has hair
like Carol Channing. Voice too.
Rage in the Shadows
Floating on an island of quilts, listening to the rain
sing us to sleep, we hear the screech of wind-blurred
unplaceable voices from not far away.
Twenty-four years and I don’t know
the neighbors, but I hate the bitch who’s been coming
and going the last few weeks. She’s nothing
but trouble, I know it--
Dirty hair pulled back careless, bourbon-blushed cheeks,
narrowed eyes no matter in sun or shade,
always thinking how to hurt.
Somebody’s screaming get the hell out--
louder than the wind through the camphor tree
in our front yard, louder than the waves
which override the weather
with their viciousness. We stay cuddled-up,
hear a car start, tires peel out
and skid—the slippery street and wet leaves
an exclamation point on anger unresolved.
Motel nights are booze in a paper cup,
hotplate that violates the hell out of reason
and we don’t care—she’s gone.
Tobi Alfier is published nationally and internationally. Credits include War, Literature and the Arts, The American Journal of Poetry, KGB Bar Lit Mag, Cholla Needles, Galway Review, The Ogham Stone, Permafrost, Gargoyle, Arkansas Review, and others. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).
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