Richard Luftig

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 or from 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.