Tobi Alfier, How Many

How Many

How many days have you run through a gauntlet,
harsh whispers beating you down, beating you up

How many times have you watched instantly flooded roads
fail to outmanoeuvre violent summer storms

How many habits have you let run amiss
over untold miles of empty highways

How many dollars have you dropped into baskets
for buskers who carve gritty songs out of gritty lives

How many mornings have you asked will you miss me
as morning fades into a story of time clocks and tripwires

How many nightmares
How many overdue bills

How many young women in forever-weather tans
brush waves of misted heat off foreheads and luminous faces

The August sun stretches afternoons into numbness
How many worry-stones of sea glass will pave smoothly over your scars.

Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart and multiple Best of the Net nominee. Symmetry: earth and sky was published by Main Street Rag. Her chapbook Grit & Grace is forthcoming from Orchard Street Press. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (

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