Michael Lauchlan

Sunlight on Granite

All it is is sunlight on granite.

—Robert Hass, "Breach and Orison"

The indignity of being just a man
going west in a freight car,
freezing, fleeing luck or debt—
or maybe doing 75
in a four wheel pop can
chasing what might be a job—
and needing most to take a piss
and then to sleep for days.
And from the train my dad
didn't take because the war
took him or from my Honda,
we watch light linger on a rock
face as though the sun has done
its bit just for us. Some night,
decades apart, we'll walk
into our homes, each of us,
to find our wives have dressed,
have gotten the kids stowed
somehow, have put on rouge,
and, like this dusk, it'll be
more right than ever again—
at least for my old man
since the war stole more
than its share. For me, such
days stretch out like cats
on a ledge in late summer
until the sun fades to black
and leaves no mark on the rock
when the long dark resumes.


Only the gurgling pot on the counter and
bowls clicking on top when the fridge
clicks on and hums. Then quiet again—just

traffic sighing under silence as the dark
within and the dark outside press hands
against the window glass. Coffee wafts

into the room. The first blooms
are flavoring the black of the yard
and, when you finally push out of the door

carrying a cup and keys, the air
flicks you like the hands of a child
demanding that you wake and play.

Michael Lauchlan’s poems have appeared in many publications including New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The North American Review, Ninth Letter, Natural Bridge, Innisfree, Crab Creek, The Tower Journal, Nimrod, and The Cortland Review, and have been included in Abandon Automobile, from WSU Press and in A Mind Apart, from Oxford.  He has recently been awarded the Consequence Prize in Poetry.



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