Richard Luftig

April 26th, 2015 by admin

Prospero’s Book

It possessed all his magic to keep a daughter close.   But one cannot hold the moon forever or its rhythms still   and even a sorcerer must yield to such first, inevitable facts.   Here, I give you, the best part of my life, he told Ferdinand   and yield now to a place where every third thought shall be my grave,   and then drowned his book so deep in the fathoms   retiring all he knew to the alchemy of love.


  The wooden thermometer in the Kiwanis Park reports that they’ve reached eighty percent toward building the new hospital wing, and the Dairy Queen sign advertising half off an Artic Rush also is pleased to announce that Salvation is a Gift from Our Lord.   Along the State Route that cuts through the heart of town, each weathered, gray-slate, clapboard house has a sofa on the front porch, a rusted tree swing or big, brown beater of a Pontiac parked on a washboard-dirt drive. But the side gardens, each full as the old person’s lap who tend them,   are swelling with costume-jewelry sunflowers, peonies, tomatoes, snap beans, pattypan squash that their owners have placed in a crate along the curb along with an empty Maxwell House can where the passerby might pay on the honor system right before he’s hit with the hundred buck fine for doing thirty in a twenty zone.  

A Box of Old Letters

  Found in the attic after I bought the place, the address on the front always the same. But the postmarks an atlas heading west, always west down the Ohio to Cairo then up the Mississippi to St Louis. Each day took him farther and further   from her touch, through towns with populations smaller than their area, tree lines thinned then vanished, land bleached like the bones of cattle lining the trail. Places where quarter-sections were left for dead, land, a disaster never more   than one drought away. And he pleading for a letter, some word to expel the fears of losing her that grew with each passing mile, enclosing pressed flowers: hawthorns, pieces of sunflowers— the color, he said of her hair—   columbines, then poppies when he crossed the Sierras into California, he looking for the gold that would bring her to him and we never learning if he ever possessed a box to save on his side of the world.   Richard Luftig is a former professor of educational psychology and special education at Miami University in Ohio now residing in Pomona, CA; a recipient of the Cincinnati Post-Corbett Foundation Award for Literature and a semi-finalist for the Emily Dickinson Society Award; poems have appeared in numerous literary journals in the United States and internationally in Japan, Canada, Australia, Europe, Thailand, Hong Kong and India.

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