William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

The Fall Way Home

Of the clump of hyacinths we planted recently in front of the crape myrtle I now call a pomegranate, the Muscari armeniacum jumped out of the ground as soon as we turned our backs. Soon there will be enough to cover an entire hillside. Then I will exchange my pen for a shepherd’s crook, and lead my sheep into their purple presence.

Fig leaves, bright-yellow, as big as elephant ears. Maple leaves that look like hands. I write about them every year. Mushroom cities, suburbs, and towns. Elves. A ring of ice crystals around the moon.

A world without fear.

I meet two women walking their dogs. They live one street over. Little tiny dogs — snifters and pippers and sneezers, one of them no more than five inches high, with a pleasant, alert, I know all about it expression; the other, white and in some strange way resembling George Bernard Shaw, but timid at my approach; and I say, “Don’t you know I’m the nicest person in the neighborhood?” upon which he immediately relaxes, breaks into a smile, and strains at his leash for a scritch.

My mother’s biscuits. We have her old dented cutter, and her measuring cups and spoons, and use them still. I write about them every year too.

Firewood. Smoke. Imagine living your life in the wind and rain and sun, deep into age which is really your youth, and then, one day, you find you’ve been cut into convenient lengths and stacked on the front porch. Imagine the people living there thinking all along that they owned you — your grace, your shade, your sympathy, your wisdom, your solitude. Or maybe it was only one person who felt that way, the tough, practical father who killed chickens and beat his horses and wept in private at the loss of his son in the war. Have you misunderstood him? Is your fate perhaps worth the sacrifice? Is this not at least one thing that living is for, to end as a blessing on one’s heart and one’s hearth?

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Categories: New Poems & Pieces

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