Spring Approaches New Hampshire, On Time, and To My Adult Child

Poetry by Richard Luftig

Spring Approaches New Hampshire

The cordwood stacked
on the back porch
suns itself in these
early, hesitant days
of May. It faces

east as if to catch
a morning of glazed
prisms on window
panes that hint a need
for their first spring

washing of the year.
Out by the stone fence,
wild, Labrador Tea
sprouts among
the rocks, bowing

their necks
as if in prayerful
amazement at
newly thawed earth.
Off in some distant

Paper Birch,
a Bewick’s Wren,
sings. I continue
to sit, coffee
at hand, lost

in thought over
whether today
might be the right
time to put up
the window screens.

On Time


is how he bought
this place for her—
with interest, always
her best interest at heart.
It might take them

thirty years, maybe more,
he knew, to pay it off:
but if their land, love, luck
held enough, they might hold
like these windbreak trees.


He always hated how
his being on time would be
like being fifteen minutes late
to her. It must have been
a German thing brought here

when her great-grandparents
came out to settle the land.
But he knew full well
that spring planting can
never be set like a watch,

that this earth has a mind
of its own. Like how farmers
with like their tractors tuned
are forced to idle away
hours, days, lifetimes,

drinking coffee black as dawn,
waiting on frost to run its course
before first furrows are plowed,
seeds planted corn stalks
peeking out like a shy child.


Like Einstein’s calculations,
since her passing, time has become
all relative for him—moving slow,
then slower still. After dinner,
when what is left of the day is put
on shelves, dinner made, dishes done.

He wonders if the kitchen clock
has decided on its own to run behind
or if its hands even move at all.
Later, as the ten-o’clock news ends
and he and the anchorman sign
off for the night, he remains

on his side of the bed out of sheer
habit, counts their years together
as night evolves to morning,
and wonders why anyone ever
thought it was a good idea to force
twenty-four hours into every day.

To My Adult Child

Just a note
To let you know

The family

And voted
On whether

You are a
Good daughter.

I am happy
To report

The vote was
2-0 in your favor.

Your brother