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Issue 18

Poetry » Richard Luftig »


Snow Country

these mountains
                    top heavy
with clouds.

fog thinly
the trees.

no sound.
                    then wind
strikes high notes

like a lute
                    in the night,
playing a minor key.

and I
                    so far
below wishing

                    to know
the words.

Fast Food

She has managed a dollar
to get in out of the rain
and orders coffee;
free refills to last the afternoon.

Her shopping cart piled
with plastic bottles, she speaks
to someone named Alice,
although I can’t see her,

saying that she knows a secret
cache of cans under the highway
overpass, just an hour’s walk
from here, and if they keep

it between themselves,
play their cards right,
they just might be able
to recycle them into supper.

Fishing for Crappie

Rocking the rowboat, the boy reeled
in his line and recast every two minutes.
Still, the morning had not been a total waste;
he had caught two trees, a submerged log
and an oar, not to mention the free breakfast
of worms guzzled by the hungry panfish.

Leave your line in the water for a minute,
his father said, and we’ll eat lunch.
He unwrapped a bread and butter sandwich
on white bread, the boy’s favorite,
Did I ever tell you how I came about
marrying your Mom? The boy said nothing

and sipped from his juice box. I was so shy
I asked her out so badly that she didn’t
even realize it and was a no-show
for our first date. It only got worse
from there. The more I tried, the more
I screwed things up. Then one night

we were at a campfire. She took my hand,
kissed me, told me she loved me.
Off in the water his son’s bobber was dancing.
It’s what I’m trying to explain to you:
Sometimes, just sometimes the magic works best
if you do nothing and just let the fish come to you.