Late day, and the foreman cuts us loose. Wind stiffens,
cools graders and backhoe we leave behind at the bayou cutoff.
I flee to a bar beneath a falling winter sun.
Neon shivers like candleflame. Rare thin snow whispers its way
to the rooftop. Tobacco smoke and the musk
of damp bodies crowd the wind-shot doorway.
On a corner stool I seek my solitude,
hope my face draws a blank from all, a story unread.
Shots of rye rattle my skull like dice in a gambler's cup.
Through the window, I fix on the parking lot,
watch headlights shed the darkness.
One drinker, as wordless as I, slips away without a ride.
She takes foot down an unlit road.
Jeffrey Alfier’s recent books include Fugue for a Desert Mountain, Anthem for Pacific Avenue, and The Red Stag at Carrbridge: Scotland Poems. His publication credits include The Carolina Quarterly, Midwest Quarterly, and Texas Review. He is the founder and co-editor ofBlue Horse Press and San Pedro River Review.