Your Lucky Life

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.