• Richard Luftig

Richard Luftig, one poem


A Grammar for Snow

I who have yearned a lifetime

to learn their names

like a discoverer in a foreign land.

Blizzard and squalls, bands

flurries, grains of graupel

in soft hail or pellets.

Plants also: Snow peas,

snow belles and poppies.

Snowdrops, bowing

in sweet pairs, like necks

of white cranes. Blossoms

that poke through frost

on a March day when

when no one is looking

and then break your heart

again when false-spring

recants on its promise

like early love that swore

to be faithful forever.

Watermelon snow; pink

then red. Blood snow,

they call it in the Sierras.

A snow that lingers, holds

on, winter to winter,

year after year, longer

than we thought we

ever would, when

first we learned

the correct syntax,

and now struggling

to keep our own special

order like that winter

when we began to love.

Richard Luftig is a former professor of educational psychology and special education at Miami University in Ohio now residing in California. He is a recipient of the Cincinnati Post-Corbett Foundation Award for Literature and a semi-finalist for the Emily Dickinson Society Award. His poems and stories have appeared in numerous literary journals in the United States (including Broadkill Review) and internationally in Canada, Australia, Europe, and Asia. Two of his poems were recently anthologized in Ten Years of Dos Madres Press.


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