Erin MacLachlan


I was born into a red house
with no electricity or running water.
When the tax collector came,
flour-covered goats answered the door.
My mother put me to bed in a snowsuit.

In fourth grade my Mormon best friend
wasnít allowed to sleep over.
I dreamed recently that her parents are still having babies.
That their family now numbers thirty or so.
In reality, she had never eaten an avocado. Discovering this,
my mom fed one to her Ė not like one feeds a baby,
but like my grandfather probably fed my mom --
avocado, warm bread, butter.

My dadís favorite number, five. Most of his good things
predicted or aided by it. Believing in the power of numbers
allows a person to buy things for unapparent reasons,
such as one medium-sized yellow-orange school bus
in which I was the only passenger.
Kids playing playing pole-tag in front of school at 8:30,
faces turning at my disembarking & agony (unique to those embarrassed by parents.)
My dadís spooky number, 37. Most of his bad things explained,
a miscarriage, the clock before a long hike, fierce underpinnings.
Causing me to see it everywhere.

My memories are all in sun. Everything about that,
holy. The voided faces
glowing, always fleeing
into grainy light, always
flitting, leaving.
No two parents are alike
throughout one lifetime.

All the months running in a loop
all the days in a straight
film-strip line.
Reading alley
when in fact itís ally,
when I couldnít be more wrong
about that long dark way.

Erin MacLachlan received her B.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts. She currently lives, writes, and teaches in a small town in Western Massachusetts.

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