Richard Luftig

Prospero’s Book

It possessed all

his magic to keep

a daughter close.

 

But one cannot hold

the moon forever

or its rhythms still

 

and even a sorcerer

must yield to such

first, inevitable facts.

 

Here, I give you,

the best part of my life,

he told Ferdinand

 

and yield now to a place

where every third thought

shall be my grave,

 

and then drowned

his book so deep

in the fathoms

 

retiring all

he knew to

the alchemy of love.

Entrapment

 

The wooden thermometer in the Kiwanis Park

reports that they’ve reached eighty percent

toward building the new hospital wing,

and the Dairy Queen sign advertising half off

an Artic Rush also is pleased to announce

that Salvation is a Gift from Our Lord.

 

Along the State Route that cuts through the heart

of town, each weathered, gray-slate, clapboard house

has a sofa on the front porch, a rusted tree swing

or big, brown beater of a Pontiac parked on

a washboard-dirt drive. But the side gardens,

each full as the old person’s lap who tend them,

 

are swelling with costume-jewelry sunflowers,

peonies, tomatoes, snap beans, pattypan squash

that their owners have placed in a crate along the curb

along with an empty Maxwell House can where the passerby

might pay on the honor system right before he’s hit with

the hundred buck fine for doing thirty in a twenty zone.

 

A Box of Old Letters

 

Found in the attic after I bought the place,

the address on the front always the same.

But the postmarks an atlas heading west,

always west down the Ohio to Cairo

then up the Mississippi to St Louis.

Each day took him farther and further

 

from her touch, through towns

with populations smaller than their area,

tree lines thinned then vanished, land bleached

like the bones of cattle lining the trail.

Places where quarter-sections were left

for dead, land, a disaster never more

 

than one drought away. And he pleading

for a letter, some word to expel the fears

of losing her that grew with each passing

mile, enclosing pressed flowers:

hawthorns, pieces of sunflowers—

the color, he said of her hair—

 

columbines, then poppies when he crossed

the Sierras into California, he looking

for the gold that would bring her

to him and we never learning

if he ever possessed a box

to save on his side of the world.

 

Richard Luftig is a former professor of educational psychology and special education at Miami University in Ohio now residing in Pomona, CA; a recipient of the Cincinnati Post-Corbett Foundation Award for Literature and a semi-finalist for the Emily Dickinson Society Award; poems have appeared in numerous literary journals in the United States and internationally in Japan, Canada, Australia, Europe, Thailand, Hong Kong and India.

MALALA by Lyn Lifshin

Excepts from MALALA by Lyn Lifshin published by Poetic Matrix Press

Pakistani Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Noble Peace Prize for 2014 along with Indian child advocate Kailash Satyarthi.

LIKE CHILDREN TRAILING GLORY

Malala, still playing with dolls,
believed she could change the
world, cure cancer, live on the
moon, make a difference in
the world. Did she imagine that
some day those who
believe in violence could
share the same sky’s
beauty, that the light of
childhood could bring
a glow to darkness?

 

SO FEARLESS, CHANTING WITH OTHER SCHOOL GIRLS

in the school yard
the last day before
school’s done
along the sun
drenched roads.
Again and again.
until next time
God willing. Then
helicopters and
guns turn the air to
dust, birds
explode up from
the flowers. Many
crash dead. Blood
and petals. A war
zone of flowers.
This hide and
seek goes on all
night. We are very
afraid. This, Malala
writes, is my life.

 

ON OCTOBER 9, 2012

a Taliban gunman shot Malala Yousafzai
as she rode home on a bus
after taking an exam in
Pakistan’s Swat Valley. “Which
of you is Malala? Speak up,
otherwise I’ll shoot you all.”
When he found out which
girl was Malala he shot her twice.
Once in the head and once
in the neck.

 

IN MALALA’S SPRING DREAM

the pond is a dark blossom
unfolding. If she were to
move to the window in the
dream, there would be white
lilies thru blinds, suspended
instead of a moon.
Fog lips on roots
and willows filtering into
dreams of swans. The light
polishing water, connecting
what was behind her to
what’s ahead.

Mary Shelley

“It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn; and whether it was the outward substance of things, or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of man that occupied me, still my inquiries were directed to the metaphysical, or in its highest sense, the physical secrets of the world.”
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein