States

I’ve never been to Wyoming,
although I almost made it
to the border once, thirty-five miles
due east at Alliance, Nebraska.
And Wisconsin. I’ve not been there

unless you count changing planes
in Steven’s Point, a one- landing- strip
affair with cows grazing on the other side
of a cyclone fence. Now, Alaska and Hawaii,
they don’t count with their being shoehorned

on the U.S. map as if one is just five miles
west of California and the other so close
to Washington that you can hit it
with a skipped stone across Puget Sound.
All the others states I’ve been to or through:

New York with it’s lakes of five fingers
stretching out like they are reaching
for a handful of grapes. Maine at Eastport,
jutting out like a thumb knuckle, the place
in the Country that gets first look at the new day.

Lafayette in the bayou where folks talk
like they have a mouthful of Saltine Crackers.
The Plains and West too. Illinois in summer
where I’ve driven on a two-lane blacktop road
through a valley of corn, and Colorado

on the train where you go to sleep
amid foothills east of Denver and awake
to mesas at a sun-soaked adobe-syle station
in Grand Junction. And other states too—
joy and, despair, bliss, wedded and otherwise.

Sadness, watching children grow, embark
on their own road trips, heading border
to border, approaching far boundaries
that I will never know, as they state
their intentions to go their own way.



About the Author
Richard Luftig: I am a professor of educational psychology and special education at Miami University in Ohio. I am a recipient of the Cincinnati Post-Corbett Foundation Award for Literature and a semi finalist for the Emily Dickinson Society Award. My poems have appeared in numerous literary journals in the United States and internationally in Japan, Canada, Australia, Europe, Thailand, Hong Kong and India. One of my published poems was nominated for the 2012 Pushcart Poetry Prize.