Last Words to an Old Miner Leaving Albuquerque

Jacob, this day storms whip those same tree limbs
your feet stumbled home under. And dizzy
with winds, you’d argue the compass, pounding

strangers’ doors to query them with maps. Once,
your paychecks came tough as Roman galleys
when sleep filled your nights with groaning timbers.

Forlorn as those mining towns were, and cold,
if clean winds now mean your lungs wake easy,
you can’t curse streets here like dreams chipped away

each time mines closed, depleted by the war.
Why say nothing’s here for you? Why blame storms
and wars, or maps at the mercy of rain?

Jeffrey Alfier currently lives in Germany. He recently received an honorable mention for the Rachel Sherwood Poetry Prize. His publication credits include Crab Orchard Review, Georgetown Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Santa Clara Review and Xavier Review. He is author of a chapbook, Strangers within the Gate (The Moon Publishing, 2005). (exile3@hotmail.com)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761