Michael Lauchlan

The Undreamt


The girl in our garage—a starved

ten-year-old my wife in a dream

wrangled out to feed and bathe—

wore the face abandonment takes

in a human body. Brickshorn, burnt

homes have nothing on this wild

vacancy of eyes, of fist-balled, nail-

raking terror who crawled through

broken glass to get out of the rain.

The pines might have sheltered her

until the wind turned, if the weed

dealer hadn't creeped her out first.


True, I dreamt her into being,

but real ones live a block west,

a mile south or on the block

where I was first lost, where

the streetlights were repo'ed

last year (good luck kids,

getting to school of a winter's morn).

I'll name neighbors decades dead,

but I can't summon the living ones,

the undreamt, ubiquitous kids.


Room to Room


Only amalgams are true, he told her,

and agreeing, she stayed with him

since he drank less than her husband

and reminded her of her brothers.


For him she recalled a fourth grade

teacher, which he never told her

and only saw when she laughed

so her teeth showed and eyes


crinkled to life, though her lines

didn’t vanish into a nun's wimple

since hair ringed her face,

curling in indefinable reds.


Happy, she jarred loose thoughts

of his mom the day she'd hit

on a number. But she wept

easily—at the news, during sex,


on seeing a kid swatted

at the park. She vibrated like

a struck string when he touched

her and when he didn't. 


And so they moved room

to room, lightly brushing hands,

hips, and the others

of whom they were composed.

Michael Lauchlan's poems appear in New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, North American Review, Ninth Letter, The Cortland Review, and Innisfree and in two anthologies: Abandon Automobile (Wayne State University Press) and A Mind Apart (Oxford University Press). He recently won the Consequence Prize for Poetry.



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