Pilgrimage in the Old Country
Late in the day and I’m shoulder-deep in shadow.
My coat, buttoned high as possible
to keep out the frost. In each pocket
a hot pretzel to keep my fingers flexing,
the odd chance that a photo comes my way
and I need my hands.
In fog, even distance seems to roam.
Where is that tavern, that scent
of boiled beef and cabbage,
of Slivovitz, the plum brandy of winter,
the warmth, the music—
I want to live to a ripe old age,
not wind-beaten and frozen.
Always a bar in the train station.
I follow the tracks, my breath
blows smoke signals in the gunmetal night.
Whose idea was this, this journey,
or was it flight? Find me a bartender
with sympathy and an overpour
while new snow whispers
at the visionless window.
By Tobi Alfier
Tobi Alfier (Cogswell) is a multiple Pushcart nominee and a multiple Best of the Net nominee. Her current chapbooks include “Down Anstruther Way” (Scotland poems) from FutureCycle Press, and her full-length collection “Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn’t Matter Where” is forthcoming from Kelsay Books. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).