Richard Luftig


There's not much to brag about
being seventy and living
in Iowa. Just winters spent
wrestling the angel like Jacob,
wearing scars of survival as a cloak
of honor around cold shoulders.

In February, the hawk and fluted winds force willows and the old to grip down with their roots, fighting to stand upright. People hold their breath and wait for April to break Winter's back.

Now the old people bask in the orange warmth of Orlando, trying to learn the foreign tongue of the sun. They close their eyes and dream of lotus flakes of snow falling in silent unison.

On the beach, sea oaks lean their prayers in the wind against a picket fence with slats missing like Halloween teeth, reminding old farmers of snow fences that keep the fields

Company but go nowhere. They breathe in the keen salt air of twilight, dreaming of gravel lanes lit with milkweed and corn tall enough to make valleys of unmarked county roads.

Copyright CrossConnect, Inc. 1996