Michael Lauchlan


I stare north into lush green
that hides a rail link to Chicago.
A squirrel clambers pine to maple
to mulberry, shrouded by leaves, revealed
by limbs made animate. Beyond
the tracks lies a branch of the Rouge
which once led slaves to Canada.
Sun strokes the willow fronds
to a shade that’s no longer green.
If this moment had a word, we’d
use it for the look a woman wears
when her lover’s learned at last
how to touch her hair. I include this
because maybe you’re reading outside
somewhere in Oregon or B.C and what’s
more boring than an eastern brown
squirrel in my little yard, when
you have your western greys
going branch to branch through
a misty canopy; but I hope
you’ve once touched your lover
and seen that look, not desire
only, a look that wants and
hopes again as never before
to stay aloft like this and alive.
Life bustles around and past–vole,
rabbit, eastern brown, goshawk,
barking geese rowing through the blue
deep into the work of food, sex,
and getting up alive tomorrow. For me,
tonight, survival seems imminent,
though wakefulness depends on this
cup of coffee. I hold it quite
tenderly, thinking of you,
who’ll come later and not
read a line of this.


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