Michael Lauchlan ~ A Story’s Truth

No one gets it–its slip­pery gift
for wrig­gling away, like the gaunt cat
we found in an alley and tried to stash
in Old Steve’s garage until one of us
could con­vince a mom to let her inside.
After a week of eat­ing, the cat recalled
free­dom and seemed to know it
bet­ter than we did, though we
were ten and fair­ly well fed,
run­ning the streets in ragged shoes
and patched pants, freer than
we’d ever be again. Freedom flies
and truth ambles. We caught sight
of the gray blur on a garage roof
and you boost­ed me to the gut­ter which
some­how held while I swung up.
As she leapt for a branch, I snagged her–
the quick­est and most painful thing
I’d done so far–and, bleed­ing, slid
toward the eave to pitch her to you,
hold­ing a box. By morn­ing she was gone
for­ev­er, though we looked longer
than we admit­ted, though I still look,
and you do, too, if you’re still
breath­ing air. Six decades on, there
aren’t many alleys left, but I peer
into those I pass and find weeds,
most­ly and rub­ble. By now,
she’d be such an old cat.


Michael Lauchlan has con­tributed to many pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The North American Review, Sugar House Review, Louisville Review, Poet Lore, and Lake Effect. His most recent col­lec­tion is Trumbull Ave., from WSU Press (2015).