Six Times
by Michael Lauchlan

              What a number of things you haven’t seen
              in this street you travel six times a day.
                                                            —Paul Valéry

An angle of light carves a trellis
crusted by snow, flecked by leaves.

A snap of wind tears the maples
shouting, north—north!

Buffeted, my half-dressed students
bound through the campus.

One lags, frail.  I watch the wind.  Once,

I saw my young wife, her gait gone
wooden, leave the last wounds

of her clinic and step
into the light of an old day.

by Michael Lauchlan

When the gas man came for your meter,
your oldest let him in.  You jumped
from the rocker and handed him the baby—
“Take her, too!  How will I feed her if I can’t
warm the milk?”  After he fled,
you were ashamed.  You were nursing her,
of course, and you’d never lied to a soul.
Five decades later you could still see him,
nearly as hungry and scared as you,
his wrench in one hand and your quiet
Ellie gaping up from the other.


Michael Lauchlan has lived in and around Detroit for his entire life.
His most recent chapbook is
Sudden Parade, and individual poems
have appeared in many publications including
New England Review,
Virginia Quarterly Review, Victoria Park, The North American
, Ninth Letter, Natural Bridge, Blood and Thunder, and
two anthologies:
Abandon Automobile (Wayne State University
Press) and
A Mind Apart: Poems of Melancholy, Madness, and
(Oxford University Press).     

On “Milk, 1933”:
For many years, my wife has responded to donors to Manna
Community Meals, a soup kitchen in downtown Detroit.  Sometime
in 1983 she began receiving a series of letters from an elderly
contributor, Florida Bessette, who related stories about surviving
the depression while raising seven kids.  Florida shared her pension
with our soup kitchen partly in gratitude for help (fifty years
earlier) from a legendary Detroit priest associated with our soup
kitchen.  This poem owes a debt to Florida and her memorable

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 4, Number 2
(Fall 2009)

Copyright © 2009
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.
Milk, 1933