Michael Lauchlan

Dubious Route

Careless, I’d let the dog out

to wander amid railroad brush.

Attentive as we rarely are,

she’d return, answering a well-timed

snap or clap, sprinting into view,

her black form retrieving its so

familiar shape from the darker tones

of night. I’d congratulate myself

as a deft handler, confident

I knew where she’d gone

on her late meander. Some nights

I’d wait too long and need

to call or even walk part way

across the long field before she

extracted herself from dogdom

and silenced my bellowing, yet

I held to my dumb faith that

her path was fixed, that hers

were innocent pursuits, holes

of rabbits to be deeply sniffed,

the odd squirrel to be treed.

After she died, I found the tarp

where a dealer fought off chills

and got high waiting for customers.

Perhaps he’d calmed her, eased

her bared teeth with a soft word,

called her by his own name—

Quickness, maybe or Dark

Surprise, and ruffled her ears

with hands withdrawn for once

from pockets of a parka he wore

the last time I saw him

hustling away over the tracks.

Michael Lauchlan's poems have landed in many publications including New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The North American Review, English Journal, The Dark Horse, Nimrod, Thrush, Innisfree, and The Cortland Review, and have been included in Abandon Automobile, from WSU Press and in A Mind Apart, from Oxford. His awards include the Consequence Prize in Poetry. His next collection, Trumbull Ave., is forthcoming from Wayne State University Press.



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