Sometimes Town

Richard Luftig

The sign announcing its name

as you enter says the population

is almost a thousand. If so,

then four hundred folks were on

vacation when the last census occurred.

But no matter. It still holds the title

 

of birthplace of that famous poet--

no matter that no one quite remembers

his name, and they claimed the guy

a full ten years before he was born.

This place where the only thing

growing is the number of once-farm

 

fields now reduced to bunch grass

and thistle, where winds out

of the northwest blow so hard

against this flat land that snow

moves sideways like it never intends

to touch the Earth. But you know

 

it does. Here, where people

take pride that three inches

can fall at midnight and by nine

in the morning there still won’t

be a single set of tire tracks

on the two-lane. Where the bet

 

of the day is whether the mail

truck will make it out to roads

named after families who live

here six generations after their ancestors

settled and broke the soil. This on-again,

off-again, sometimes town where we need

 

the noon farm report on the local radio

to remind us that we are still here,

and how folks who live in the houses

along the lone road that runs through

this town are more important than anything

that might ever take place at its end.


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.