“Walking West on East 5th Street” By Jeffrey Alfier



Walking West on East 5th Street
                          Benson, Arizona

It is spring, and in a town that awaits
the luster of fairgrounds to come alive,

the doors of taverns open early, like strangers
with a promise. Flat-roofed houses yield

to groves of mesquite. Their limbs stretch
streetlight halos into frail shadows veining asphalt

that webs the neighborhood. The trundling
iron of the Union Pacific enters town at a late

hour. Its headlamp startles shacks to burnished
yellow as it floods for mere seconds the frame

of a drunken soldier, home on leave from a long
war. He shuffles through an unpaved alley

like an astronaut scuffing the dust of the moon.
A final blast from the locomotive seems to hew

the world into the past tense. It surmounts cheers
unreeling from a small crowd seated under

the ballfield lighting of a pickup game. A young
hopeful sprints homeward, rounds third, already out.


This poem previous appeared in Idyll for a Vanishing River (Glass Lyre Press, 2013)


About the Author: Jeffrey Alfier is 2018 winner of the Angela Consolo Manckiewick Poetry Prize, from Lummox Press. In 2014 he won the Kithara Book Prize, judged by Dennis Maloney. Publication credits include Crab Orchard ReviewSouthern Poetry ReviewAtlanta Review, Copper NickelEmerson ReviewIron Horse Literary ReviewKestrelHotel AmerikaMidwest QuarterlyPoetry Ireland Review and South Carolina Review. He is author of The Wolf YearlingIdyll for a Vanishing RiverFugue for a Desert MountainAnthem for Pacific Avenue: California PoemsSouthbound Express to Bayhead: New Jersey PoemsThe Red Stag at Carrbridge: Scotland PoemsBleak Music – a photo and poetry collaboration with poet Larry D. Thomas and The Storm Petrel: Poems of Ireland. He is founder and co-editor at Blue Horse Press and San Pedro River Review. An Air Force veteran, he is a member of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.


Image Credit: “Main Street, Benson, Arizona” By Jeffrey Alfier

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