The Works of Jeffrey Alfier

Jeffrey Alfier is a Pushcart prize nominee whose poems have appeared recently in Connecticut Review and South Poetry Magazine (UK), with work forthcoming in New York Quarterly. His chapbooks are Strangers Within the Gate (2005) and Offloading the Wounded (2010). His third chapbook, Before the Troubadour Exits, will be out this fall. He serves as co-editor of San Pedro River Review.

All Poems © Jeffrey Alfier

The Last Snowfall We Remember

Storms always swept in from the east. They tumbled
in dark tidal clouds over the horizon locals named
for owls, making all the more stark the bare
scaffolds of fir and poplars that flourished
in opaque green canopies most of the year.

We played in the sugar-glue and gumdrops
that held the cookie walls of the gingerbread
house your grandmother insisted we build.
She demanded Christmas in full dress uniform – 
loud as brass, all red and green ribbons,
a grand yield in toys. Like the plastic soldier
in his parachute I’d toss down from the balcony
as you waited below in the gaining snowdrifts.

We kept a room for you then, named it yours
through the months of absence, unsure when
you and your mother would visit again.
When you slept, we locked it out of fear
of the staircase just outside your door.
One day you napped in our bed, next to
grandma’s stamps on the nightstand. 
She found your pajamas covered with them –

she who would live only four more winters,

all without the cold and snowmelt she feared
would soak your boots as we pulled your sled
through packed snow against throatfuls of wind. 
In her red and green solicitude, she’d forget
how at day’s end I'd hold your chilled feet
tight to my chest, as if they’d never know
again what the earth beneath the snow was like.