Lake Effect, Spring 2013, Volume 17: Campomarino

Jeffrey Alfier


Campomarino, Where the Sea Begins

I could summon a final Fernet-Branca

before loosening my tie for a walk home

in the warm, moon-shot night, my fedora tilted

back on my sweaty brow, luckier than the man

one stool over, his peasant pockets that buy

nothing but advice to go home, an empty glass

at arm’s length, a demand not followed by supply,

the dark eyes that say, this is all I’ve come for.


Why must midnight clocks wear that deadpan

glare, the hard rhyme of hour and minute

against the day’s unraveling hem, tomorrow

forecasting its own bitter cure, the bar’s shelves

restocked before the city’s old wake early to pray

the Magnificat, night birds over their streets

where a woman’s glance is culled from shadow,

a loss of words that almost burns the tongue.