Birthday at the Murder of Crows Pub
The music is blue, a cross between
Enya and off-key. Been playing
all evening. Not good for drinking,
not good for dancing. Makes you want
to put your head down and cry,
or go outside and break glass.
But you can’t, it’s a celebration.
The sitter’s been paid with hopes
for an all-nighter, your stocking seams
straight, hair in radiant disarray,
moral boundaries are fluid and unmapped.
A complex conundrum stares you
right in the face.
Head home, you’re a loser.
Pray for rescue in this room full of ghosts—
you’re lost. Switch to whisky, a gravelly one,
automatically raise the glass for each toast,
consider your options, your retreats.
Meet the smoke-gray eyes
of the man with the sinner’s mouth,
wonder why you’ve not seen him before,
if he’s fair game or just your best escape…
Silence overtakes shoptalk
long enough for one more toast
and a sashay in his direction.
He watches in the mirror.
You pray: he has rooms and his lighting
is kind, heart ledger’s in the black
as well as his wallet, that he’ll take
tonight’s coffee cold in the blush
of the morning, that you’ll be more to him
than off-key blue.
About the writer:
Tobi Alfier (Cogswell) is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee. Her chapbook Down Anstruther Way (Scotland poems) was published by FutureCycle Press. Her full-length collection Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn’t Matter Where is recently out from Kelsay Books. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review.
Image: “Cinderella” by Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898). Watercolor and gouache on paper. 25.8″ x 11.9″. 1863. Public Domain.