“Mull to Ulva” By Tobi Alfier



Mull to Ulva

Because the distance from land-shore to island
is a fingersnap in the constant of all time.

Because the tides bless fishermen and landlocked alike, full creels
the harvest here, no watery graves, no heartsong, no tears.

Because the store displays bait and boat, strong needles
for sewing the lace of fishing line, not delicate woman-lace.

Because the sun burns with savage brightness, much
as the evening stars will burn unwatched and un-wished upon.

Because the ghosts of old souls and older relics own
the dark, with nary a mortal light upon any land, sea or shore.

Because here, no one interprets the thousand pin-pricks
composing a symphony in the eggy blackness of night.

Because the fragrance of this summer conjures
memory after memory of all pasts and futures.

Because there is no caretaker, no guardian to aid thin fog
search the inlet for branch or crevice with which to gain purchase—

I wish to walk barefoot on old stone, become one with the earth and sea,
learn their secrets, raise my arms to the stars. Palm to palm, our hearts.


(This poem was originally published in Down Anstruther Way)


About the Author: 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” was published by Aldrich Press. “Slices of Alice & Other Character Studies” was just published by Cholla Needles Press. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).


More by Tobi Alfier:

Possession Sound, Whidbey Island, Washington

Cape Split


Image Credit: Peter Henry Emerson “Cantley: Wherries Waiting for the Turn of                  the Tide” Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program




Farm Near a Bend in River Tummel

“A Marsh Farm” Peter Henry Emerson (1886) courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.


Farm Near a Bend in River Tummel

By Jeffrey Alfier


Farm Near a Bend in River Tummel

There was a shed here once. If you look close,
you can see grass ghosting its outline.

Any tool the day required could be found here.
Tack, as well: bits, bridles, a harness or two.

Never mind weather; some days I think decades
of dad’s swearing finally brought it down,

his voice burning beams like fire. Rust crumbling
from the ledges didn’t help. Neither did I,

backing the Landini loader against its worst wall.
My brother and I once set a drowned ewe inside—

it was our fault—we’d left a gate open. Never told
dad. He found out, of course. But that was the day

he got word his father died up north, a fall down
stone stairs along a Stornoway quay.

Look: there’s two planks left from the door.
You can still make out where the lock used to be.


(from The Red Stag at Carrbridge: Scotland Poems Aldrich Press, 2016)


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 Review, Atlanta 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.