Oct 112014

by Richard Luftig


If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later.

– Attributed to Mark Twain.


This is the town that turned its back to the railroads,

so sure that the steamboats out on the Ohio

would run forever, where the guy who built

the Brooklyn Bridge came to build another one

as if an afterthought. It is the place that named itself

Porkopolis and wondered why people back east


wouldn’t move there, the city that sent a president

to the White House so fat that he couldn’t

get out of his bathtub, that has a football team

so bad that in case of a tornado the safest

spot to be is in their stadium because

there’s never been a touch down there.


It has a street named for a guy banned from baseball

for life, and a college called Miami that has fended

off bad weather jokes for two-hundred years.

You never know when winter ice storms will snap

oak trees to kindling, or if the river will thaw in February,

and in summer you might ask the mosquitos for a ride to work.


Yes, I know it’s the town where the Chicken Dance gets played

at every wedding and the Macarena never goes out of style.

But yet… I remember this land where the newest houses

were built during the Great Depression, front porches are still

used to ward off August, and windows remain open all night

just to hear river barges echoing in their summer songs.