William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

The Art of the Cumulative

Minding the details, relishing them, staying with them day after day through the years — we might call this the art of the cumulative.

The ground behind the house is deep in yellow birch leaves. Here and there, they are suspended in spider webs under the eaves; some dangle from a single thread and twist and turn in the breeze. The fig tree, too, is yellowing. An hour ago, I noticed a tiny birch leaf riding piggyback on one of its big faded leaves. Which will be the first to let go? Or will they fall together?

I was startled by an owl the other evening as it flew across my path just overhead. I could see the pattern of the feathers on its outstretched wings. It cleared the ridge of the neighbor’s roof with not an inch to spare.

Ants. They don’t mean to be a nuisance, and neither do we. We share the world. But must we share the hut as well? Lemon juice. Vinegar. Essential oils. Coffee grounds. Or is it simply time for tea?

October 21, 2019. Afternoon.

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Categories: Everything and Nothing, New Poems & Pieces

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