Michael Lauchlan



Having lost blood and ripped out the IV,

she will not wake. Gaping, she snores, slow

as the rasp of waves heard above the shore 

in a late-night house. She's not the sound,

not the gape, not the restive ear still awake

in the kitchen of the house. She lives now 

in the turning force that rolls water toward sand

where it will spend itself and slide back below.

For years, she has pushed breath from her throat 

as though shaping the phrases of a book

from laugh lines and grief, with terse words

for the work that lay between. She will close,  

breathing an almost endless passage—a surf

in storm and in breezy chop or driven rain,

then, under eggshell skies, the softest swells.



Pummeling the deck, rain soaks into cedar grain,

piles into puddles, and blasts the puddles back

into light. I have wondered what old men think

staring into rain like this as though it refracts

the dull day and thickens the air so that bits

of the past coalesce and shine like a film

shown through mist on some old brick facade.

Maybe old women and men are looking out of doors

for all the gray miles of this storm, each

exhaling a puff of one cloud—the one roof

we all share. This rain, insistent and slow,

falls for hours to save our plants, to chase

kids home from a ballgame, to give

lovers a beat to match the pulse, and to house

for a day, all those who have really left us.

Michael Lauchlan's most recent chapbook is Sudden Parade, from Riverside Press. He has had poems in publications including New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Victory Park, North American Review, Ninth Letter, Apple Valley Review, Chiron Review, Collagist, and Natural Bridge. He was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart prize and has been included in Abandon Automobile, from Wayne State University Press, and A Mind Apart, from Oxford University Press.  



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