First Night in an Old House - Richard Luftig

Always, it is the first night
after taking possession
that an old house introduces
itself by countless wisps.

In moth-eaten dark,
butterfly spirits take
to their well-worn wings,
and refuse to tell their tales.

Now is the perfect time
for her to lie awake
and think of ghost stories
of her own, long recessed

in alcoves of hidden
thoughts and dreams,
like fallen petals of old
loves that never were

or are just slightly used.
She would keep them
company, stretch out
her hands to them

but remain so afraid
that they would find
her out, come to know
what she herself has not yet

learned: how sometimes
when you try to speak
your heart it is almost
like telling a lie.

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.