SHE LIVES NOW
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.