Blues for Tobi–Jeffrey Alfier

Whitewater Canyon Road, crosswinds trapping

dirt. She reached from the passenger side

to turn the music down. My blues channel.

She wanted my attention. Said it was high time


to rid the back seat of empty pizza boxes.

You’re going to learn one hell of a hard lesson

about vermin if you don’t. Those were her exact

words. And sure, I can understand. Not that anyone


sits back there now. But summer is coming

and the seats could turn gamey with squalor.

Things could die and leave tiny skeletons.

I tried to lighten her up, said it could be worse —


at least I rid the seats of the sardine cans. Besides,

it hurt my right shoulder to reach around to grab

the boxes. My left shoulder hurt as well,

stiff from a tetanus shot. Rotten excuses,


but I said them anyway. So all I did was sandbag,

turn the radio back up. She glared at me.

I said, “Wow, babydoll – listen to this:

a solo stringed lament, a soft cello in low


register. When you don’t have frets or keys

you can slide all around.” She said what’ll slide

all around is vermin on my seats. Oh well.

A man’s gotta try. Even the blues can backpedal.

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