Auntie’s Ways

by Tobi Alfier

Early mornings, when the sun looked like sunrise
and sunset both, she’d go out walking.

A shawl, the muted colors of the waking earth
around her shoulders, shallow basket over her elbow,

she’d walk the paths barefoot, picking flowers
and herbs for her teas and tisanes. And for beauty.

Respect for her—many of us drank her teas
for our lady-times. She was kinder than any doctor

and she understood. Daytime found her in ordinary
clothes, off to a soul-crushing job as so many of us had,

after making her carpenter husband eggs with yolks
the bright orange of marigolds and kissing him a sweet goodbye.

Their small house—on the strand and dotted with color,
everything a merry-go-round of brightness, even when cloudy.

Both of them could play any instrument, and they did—lute, lyre,
bouzouki, recorder. But if you needed her, you were welcome.

She’d pause her quiet song and was there for you,
always without hesitation no matter the time.

More is rumored than known about Auntie
but I will go to the ends of time to defend her,

the foraging lovely woman with the smile and face
of a calm river no one has yet discovered.



Tobi Alfier is published nationally and internationally. Credits include War, Literature & the Arts, The American Journal of Poetry, KGB Bar Lit Mag, Cholla Needles, Galway Review, The Ogham Stone, Permafrost, Gargoyle, Arkansas Review, and others. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (

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