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After “Nature Boy”

For lousy pay, I drove a van
between Detroit and Wapakoneta, Ohio,
spinning it once in a white-out storm
and sliding up the Luna Pier exit

to stamp and thaw among lost souls
in the moon’s damp firehouse. Later,
I shot weddings, shingled roofs, herded

children and was called, in each job,
by a different name. Adrift. While
he wrote about love, eden abhez

and his family camped out below
the Hollywood sign in forties L.A.
Today, they’d be jailed. Picture his wife
braving the wind on dry nights.

Maybe she was the visionary.
What do I know? I’m tone deaf,
sipping coffee and reading wikis
amid the tremors of another time.

Only that he moved west and changed
his name and slipped a hit to Nat Cole.
That they had to track him down
to sign the record contract. That we want

to unravel love, to get it or save it,
though everything leads to return,
love evaporating and falling like rain,

like snow, while we turn wheels
into swerves and utter strange
bird cries, waiting for a crunch.

Michael Lauchlan has contributed to many publications, including New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The North American Review, Louisville Review, Poet Lore, and Lake Effect. His most recent collection is Trumbull Ave., from WSU Press.