William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Archive for March 2019

Higher Ground

More rain, more snow, now Goose Lake overflows. The muddy water rushes across the main road that leads deeper into the park. It joins the next lake, which has swollen to the foot of the historic black cottonwood. Where the water broadens, an icy wind appears to move it in the opposite direction. The path is frozen. Between patches of snow, the muddy ground is stiff and easy to walk […]

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Where Pain Is Unexplained

Where pain is unexplained, I liken it to love. I liken it to childhood, too. No? Isn’t it like looking deeply into brown eyes, Into green, into gray, into blue? Where pain is unexplained, I see sweet ripples on the pond. If swimming is to lose, is drowning living on? I think it must be so, where love is true, And pain is unexplained. February 27, after an early-morning walk […]

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The Hat Rack

My Uncle Before the War

After the grapes were all in and the raisins were picked up, boxed, and hauled away, my father’s attention turned to fall cleanup and house-painting chores. Always busy, everything in its right time and season. Oil-based, lead-based work. Paint thinner. Fumes. Open windows. Worried flies. The kitchen walls, the washroom — they stand out, as does the hat rack his older brother built before he was killed in the war. […]

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Sitting At My Mother’s Desk

It’s big, it’s beautiful, it’s old, it’s heavy, it’s made of wood. It’s simple, it’s worn, it’s scarred, but it still shines when the light is upon it. She bought it many years ago from a retired school teacher eight miles away in the next town. In the Thirties, before the Second World War, she and one of her girlfriends walked to that town from our town along the railroad […]

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Slow Dance

And what of school? I remember our sturdy little desks in rows, bright, flat crayons, and how their taste resembled their smell, jars of glue, the heavy-paper mess, girls with long straight hair and curls, their fragrant dress, the playground, races, marble games and spinning tops, climbing bars and tractor tires stood up in the ground. And, not far off, in a cloud of dragonflies and dust, a country graveyard […]

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An Accident of Birth

I wake up and it all seems so familiar. I suppose that in another life, I was a buzzard on a fence post. And in another, I was the fence post. But where? Was it here, or on some other earth?   An Accident of Birth On some days, I was born in a scorching valley, to write with a cactus spine that ends in lines of clotted blood, about […]

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The Long Way to Goose Lake

The long way to Goose Lake on a bright frosty morning, birds in the sun over a field of stubble. Or is it your grandfather’s face? Yes, it is, he has returned. No, he hasn’t, he never departed. Yes, you are in his lap and you feel his warmth. And the birds are his thoughts, they are everything he remembers, they are songs of old times never quite ended, only […]

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Sore Feet

Does it take self-discipline to let the body work its daily cures and wonders, or simply patience, understanding, attention, gratitude, and love? And where do these things dwell, if not in the body? answered the dove.   Sore Feet For the willow tree philosophy is one more leaf on the water. Songs and Letters, March 5, 2008  

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