by Tobi Alfier

Picture this summer scene…
He wakes up so hungover his headache
hurts him in the knees, campervan crooked-parked
across three spots in the empty beach parking,
waves too loud even with windows closed
and his Alka-Seltzer fizzes like shock therapy.

He murders a thousand ants with his thumb,
then fingers a can of bug spray. The floor looks like
a chessboard of beer cans after someone surrendered—
no wonder she’s gone, he doesn’t even know
when she left. Not even one of her beloved
refrigerator magnets stayed behind.

The dog park’s coming to life with the dawn light.
He straightens the van, heads on foot for carbs
and coffee. Carbs and Joegood name for a diner
he thinks, then gives up thinking about anything
but where he can get a Bloody Mary too,
what he should have first, what time do they open.

He caroms through alleyways thin as bones,
slinks in the back door of the not-yet-open Holly’s.
She furrows her brow as she takes his measure,
pours him a steaming mug, goes to make his drink.
Her hair lit from the sun conjures plenty of promises,
makes this morning believable—at last.

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, Anti-Heroin Chic, and others. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (