William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Counting Corners

Somewhere in the 444-page doorstop that I affectionately call One Hand Clapping, there’s an entry in which I am preoccupied with counting all of the corners in the house we were renting at the time. It ended up being an absurd number — but of course all numbers are absurd — at least I have always found them so. But that didn’t stop me from counting. The big rooms were easy, and the hallways and bedrooms. The challenge, though, was in the closets and cupboards. And only now, after sixteen or seventeen years, do I realize that I forgot to count the corners in the furniture, particularly the desk drawers and chests of drawers — and the bookcases, of which we had only two back then. Now, though, counting case-corners would take an entire afternoon, even if I didn’t pause to open books along the way and inevitably lose count. All of this is silly, I know. But the beauty of it is, every word of it is true, and not one word of it is exaggeration. There is also beauty in the fact that it is completely unnecessary — which makes me ask if beauty itself is necessary, and, indeed, if anything is. But here we enter the realm of philosophy — in other words, glazed eyes, yawns, clicked icons, scanned mobile devices — and the cat I saw in a neighbor’s window early this morning, sitting motionless on the sill, watching as I walked by.

March 5, 2020

Categories: Everything and Nothing, New Poems & Pieces

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