Liar’s Table

Richard Luftig

About the only thing genuine
in this place is the coffee
and even then, if I ask
the waitress if it’s fresh
she says, Define fresh.

So, I rephrase the question:
Ok, then, when was it brewed,
and one of the guys at the Liar’s Table
says, What month is it?
I asked once if the chile

was spicy and was told I had
to get a waiver from the cook.
It’s been this way for thirty years:
us widowers with no place better to go,
there before first wink of sunlight,

waiting for the place to open.
One of us grabs the morning paper
from behind the register
then we move to our table that no one
is allowed to sit at without us taking a vote.

Marty, who has probably never
been east of Indiana in his life
sports his ratty sea-captain cap,
and Dave tells the same story
about how some poor guy

wandered in for directions
to the next town only to end up
driving two counties out of his way.
Then we take bets over which tourist
will bend to pick up the quarter

we’ve super-glued to the sidewalk
in front of the restaurant window.
Still, maybe the best thing about lying
is that the facts aren’t really expected
to add up and you can’t prove a negative,

like when we tell the same stories
about daughters who call us each evening
to see how we are or sons who ask
us to live with them and say they will
be coming to get us sometime soon.


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 and stories have appeared in numerous literary journals in the United States (including Lowestoft Chronicle) and internationally in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Europe, and Asia. Two of his poems recently appeared in Realms of the Mothers: The First Decade of Dos Madres Press. His most recent book of poems, A Grammar for Snow, was published by Unsolicited Press.