Young Piper and the Large Silver Bus
by Tobi Alfier

Not all young men stay a part of farm
or fisherboat, lives ordained by obligation

or history handed down. For some, that world’s
far too small, so off they go. They leave their wellies

by home in case they’re needed, but dad
and the brothers have it all sorted out—

by tide and weather, little red markers,
a new creel winch…Angus is cut loose and free.

Angus drives the bus and plays the pipes.
When waiting for his charges, he memorizes

new tunes, committing to memory
something for his gig next Saturday

when Betty will be there to listen,
toe tapping, eyes only for him.

Come with us, they say, please come,
take the whisky tour, just don’t drink.

He’d rather raise up his seat, quietly shush
the beats so no one hears,

or go outside to “properly” wash the tires—
in the rain—to shush a bit louder,

keep his arms and breath in right firm order
for playing. It’s a good life. Home once a month

for church and catch-up, a pocket of tip-cash
at week’s end, a gig, a girl, music flaring in the wind.

Copyright 2024 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.