American Life in Poetry: Column 619


Fog carries mystery within it, and here's a fine poem about a day in which a memory approaches through fog and makes itself real. Michael Lauchlan lives in Michigan and his most recent book is Trumbull Ave., (Wayne State Univ. Press, 2015). This poem appeared first in Cortland Review.


Plows have piled a whitened range—
faux mountains at the end of our street,
slopes shrinking, glazed, grayed. Fog
rules the day. In woolly air, shapes

stir—slow cars leave a trace
of exhaust, careful walkers share
loud intimacies. My mother's birth
slides across a calendar. Like

a stranger who jumps off a bus,
crosses tracks and strides toward us,
memory parts the sodden gloom

of our winter, as though, today,
only she can see where she
goes and track where she's been.

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright© 2014 by Michael Lauchlan, “Thaw,” from The Cortland Review, (Issue 65, 2014). Poem reprinted by permission of Michael Lauchlan and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2019 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.