Tobi Alfier

Ghetto Heroes Square of Lost Gloves

Sixty-eight metal chairs placed precisely
in the square surrounded by cafes and tenement
apartments, the odd hotel, bell-shaped streetlights
and bright orange crosswalks, a place for tourists
and those living commonplace lives.

In summer, the dark of rust
against gray cobblestone looks like wood,
ancient as the doors on any church where
almswomen lean, their silent prayer for change
much like the silent prayers sung in fear
by those now called Heroes.

Randomly in sunlight they take on
a quiet emotion, a heart-feeling of sorrow,
even if history has stolen its way from you,
landed elsewhere. You feel it here.

In winter, this becomes the Square of Lost Gloves.
Look up into the wind, feel the gentle whoosh
of snowflakes land on your lashes. Your cheeks redden,
one hand in the pocket of your lover—out to smell
the beauty of weather with you before going in for a coffee.
One glove is always dropped without fail, in the exchange
from lover to loved, from parent to child.

One glove placed upon a heroes’ metal chair as you touch
the cold iron. Snow camouflages all, does not call out
as you turn to leave. One glove placed upon the hood of a car
as you wait—for those having private conversations
with many years passed.

Nuns in coats and watchcaps gather them
for those less fortunate. They are collected,
make their way into baskets, wait like limp dolls
until claimed by anyone, their prayers for summer mix
with all other prayers, and are heard just the same.
Soon it will be the Ghetto Heroes Square again, warm hands,
sad hearts, metal and rust, cobblestones shining in sun.


Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee. Her full-length collection “Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn’t Matter Where” was published by Aldrich Press. “Slices of Alice & Other Character Studies” was recently published by Cholla Needles Press. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (