Seventeen kilometers from Findlater
to Holdfast. Sometimes these poems
write themselves. But it is just
like this Province to surprise
you so easily— like where
on Route 4, right before
the river, the land yields
to butte and badlands,
fields of common reed
grass, bulrush, yellow
umbrella plants. Where jays
and crows and other riffraff
birds hoot and holler
in unison then, as if on cue,
move to a silence that threatens
to engulf the land. And the towns—
places you travel to just to hear
their names spoken aloud:
Flin Flon and Swift Current,
Medicine Hat right over the border
with Alberta. Fertile and Climax
and Smuts, all of them not far
from Love. Prince Albert, which
I am happy to report is still in his can.
Onion Lake where every story
is a tearjerker. Yellow Grass
where things over the next hill
are never greener. Oh, and right
here I must remember to mention
the town of Forget. And don’t
even get me started on Urin.
White, no-nonsense churches,
stark, plain and swallowed
up by fields. Silver, thin
silos in rows like rockets.
Sad reminders too. A harvest
of dead cars in some farmer’s weeds.
A pumphouse with nothing left
to do. The town of Plenty where
there’s not much left but cracks
in the concrete. And always the people;
so kind, so polite, who ask your business
but never believe it when you explain
how you’ll be leaving here with the wish
you could make all these places your home.
About the Author
Richard Luftig is a former professor of educational psychology and special education at Miami University in Ohio, now residing in California. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals in the United States and internationally in Canada, Australia, Europe and Asia. Two of his poems recently appeared in Realms of the Mothers: The First Decade of Dos Madres Press. His latest book of poems, A Grammar for Snow, was recently published by Unsolicited Press.