Tobi Alfier

Church and Plums


Soon it’ll be plum season again.

Cherry blossoms and stone fruit,

the season of flavors warm as biscuits

and gravy, Jack and ginger with crushed

ice on a steamy Saturday night

before absolution come Sunday.


The choir sensual as angels.

The night before, the lusty soprano

sat next to you—her murder-red lips,

hand on your thigh, a room booked

upstairs and a babysitter until

pre-church mimosas—


five Hail Mary’s

and do it again next week.

Stone fruit memories, like light

purpling unwashed glasses

when you finally come downstairs,

mama and pawpaw still sleeping it off


and the sky blooms with morning sounds.

You light the kettle, fish out the steel broom

from under the sink and scrape the grill stupid—

you want them plums and peaches

sweet as aunt Lizzy before you knew

she was your aunt.


Older than you, she tasted

the way colors look—jacaranda cluttered

on the back porch and every wildflower

you could see till the hill blurred

your line of sight. That summer…

more than five Hail Mary’s needed for that.


A slight digression, then back to plum season.

Fresh from the orchard and the Farmer’s market,

grilled for dessert with easy contentment

as late-day light begins to give way to dusk.

Easy laughter comes from the kitchen.

No Hail Mary’s needed this season.

Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee. “Slices of Alice & Other Character Studies” was published by Cholla Needles Press. “Symmetry: earth and sky” was just published by Main Street Rag. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (

1 comment:

  1. I do like this poem, it paints a vivid picture to me of the America that is in my imagination. A lot of the images and phrases are quite different to the World into which I was born and grew up in~~~ A small town in the North East of England Sunderland, but it doesnt detract from my enjoyment of the poem. One day I hope to get to America and actually taste Biscuits and Gravy instead of just savouring them in my imagination.


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