Jeffrey Alfier

Feral Intelligence in a Mojave Desert Town

Love, each morning I leave you still asleep
in my high school jersey I never started
a single game in, my cash in a money belt
no one else wears these days, and at some crossroad
along the town limits, I fake my surveyor work
before busking with your pawn shop guitar,
or scoop broth and cabbage for the rescue mission.
But at each job I’m dismissed early or quit,
relieved to return to our room and its scent
of pencil-wood and damp coats,
slide back under our bedding, as we laugh
and I slip the jersey up over your breasts,
fancying ourselves at a Yellowstone campground
— burrowed under some giant Douglas fir,
or we’ve train-hopped the bellowing Union Pacific
that boresights the desert outside,
or pretend we’re the streetlight flexing its luminance
over the emptiness of our darkening window.

Jeffrey Alfier’s most recent book, The Shadow Field, was published by Louisiana Literature Journal & Press (2020). Journal credits include Copper Nickel, Faultline, Hotel Amerika, New York Quarterly, Penn Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Vassar Review.