Notan - Richard Luftig

In Japanese art the balance between darkness and light

She wishes
            her life was more
like a Japanese scroll:
            made lighter by the removal
of unwanted things.

When young she dreamed
            that once formed
her palette would
            never waver,
never change.

But getting old
            has its way
of doing things
            to a body,
of shifting

one’s colors,
            much like how
a noon sun
            in the desert
washes out all contrast.

She always thought
            that when the time
came she could rub
            and scrape away
at her imagined landscape

until she might
            remake a world
of her own
            liking, but now,
alone with her creation,

she wonders
            if her palette
might be better
            served returning
to those prairies

where she first
            began
where everything
            is best expressed
in darker hues.

Richard Luftig is professor emeritus from Miami University in OH. He has spent most of his adult life in the Midwest and is still trying to get used to living in CA with his wife. His poetry is one of geography – both real and imagined – and his poems and short stories deal mostly with people living in the anonymity of the plains. He believes poetry should be accessible to everyone. His imagined reader is the breakfast waitress in the diner who pays for one of his books with her tip money.