On a Lake in Indiana
Richard Luftig

On a Lake in Indiana

This cabin does not wear its winters well
but rather like threadbare clothes pressed too close
against the skin. Its steps are hidden
beneath a pyramid of leaves as if
awaiting some long past owner who might
yet arrive. On the front porch, wishes stacked
like cordwood now reduced to kindling wait
for the opportunity to move inside,
and Adirondack chairs are still saving seats
in the hope that someone might return.

The wood all around the wind-leaked windows
is gray and flaked, while in the fireplace
dead ashes strew themselves with each opening
and slamming of the doors. You can run
your hands over the sinew of knotted
wall boards, feel the faint pulse from when the place
was new. On top of the mantel, I find

a corncob pipe still filled with tobacco
and trace my finger over the rough bowl
like a blind man reading a stranger’s face,
searching for a sign, some hint, some proof
of the people who have dreamed here before.

Richard Luftig

is the author of three published chapbooks, a recipient of the Cincinnati Post-Corbett Foundation Award for Literature, and a semi-finalist for the Emily Dickinson Society Award. His poems have appeared in numerous national and international journals and have been translated into Japanese, Polish, German, and Finnish.