Your Lucky Life
By Ken Fifer
In your sailor hat and peacoat, you cross
the asphalt and see what you thought
was your home is an old wooden boat.
You stand on the prow and what was
a black locust turns out to be your Jacob’s ladder.
When you climb down you think
you’re in Washington Crossing State Park,
but really you’re on your own porch in Raubsville,
thanking Pat for the tuna on rye.
So you lean back, sip your Schlitz, look at the river,
shift your chair among the nine white pillars
which apart from being ornamental
hold up the second floor and roof.
It’s as if whatever comes your way
leaves your footprints. When the locusts hunch over,
when the noisy green maples dig in to grow
bored and restless along the pointless Delaware,
when the paint of banisters peels from your palms,
when the birds leave no tracks at all
you think they all must be your countrymen.
And when moles tunnel under your home,
smacking their lips, wrinkling broad noses,
cleaning their glasses, with the river this close
they must all be your relatives. Each time
you bite into your sandwich you know
the pleasure and pain of harvested grain
in silos where the light goes down.
You can taste the gaff in your cheek,
the fishy vicissitudes, the last moments
of tuna roused from the deep
which fit so exactly into your mouth.
Ken Fifer’s poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Ploughshares, The Literary Review, and other journals. His most recent poetry book is After Fire (March Street Press). He has a Ph.D. in English from The University of Michigan and has taught at Penn State (Berks) and DeSales University. He lives in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, with his wife Elizabeth, four dogs, two cats, and assorted other creatures.