Richard Luftig is a former professor of educational psychology and special education at Miami University in Ohio and now resides 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 full-length book of poems is available from Unsolicited Press.com or from richardluftig.com. He lives with his wife, Diane, who has been nominated for sainthood.
Painting a House
The second story is where ghosts reside, where coat after coat has been slapped on, dripped over, in an attempt to seal them in, make their past stories keep still. When we first bought the place my wife brought home from the paint store a hand-fan of colors, more peacock than book, that burst into hues and shades that even a colorblind person like me could mostly see. We’ll each pick one, she said, and see if we can agree. I picked and she shook her head in amazement. That’s a great color if you want to paint a parakeet but there’s no way it’s going on our house. So that is how I am now at an angle on this forty-foot, two-extension ladder with rungs that bend and vibrate under my feet liked piano strings, as I hold on with one hand, brush in the other, more red paint on me than the house, trying to swab a new life into the place, but where, if I can get my ear close enough to the shingles, I hear wisps of old dance tunes, Dorsey, perhaps, or Glenn Miller and if I squint and look down without getting too dizzy, I see the dreams we will live together, hear patient spring approach at the end of each mountain winter, and smell pink roses that waft from the covered trellis walls.