William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Amazing Grace

Early morning. From North Falls to Winter Falls via the Rim Trail, then down into the canyon, still in shadow. Soon after beginning the descent we meet a raven as big as the next two or three crows, its beak and head capable of lunacy and wisdom, prophecy and mayhem. Its flight up from the path to a mossy low maple branch is an action deliberately made and slowly taken, implying leisure and confidence. We keep our eyes on each other as we pass beneath him; once beyond, he studies us as if taking our measure. Fools. And who can honestly disagree? We have no defense at this time, your honor, but we request latitude and leniency. The court preens, then loses interest. A switchback takes us rapidly to the base of Winter Falls, whence comes a trickle. Wet, mossy rock with a trace of white foam. The bib is gone, the baby is grown. We follow his trail through the ferns, and eventually find him crushed by the great trunk of a fallen fir at least two hundred years old. From perhaps fifty feet away, a jay screams, Murder! Murder! But the child is not dead, only injured; we find him limping further on, where, after just a few more steps, he falls into the welcoming arms of his sister, who has run all the way from North Falls hoping to meet him. Silly boy, she says, and bubbles and sighs. A glimmer of light plays on her face and hair, making her seem young and old at the same time. I was lost. And she carries him the rest of the way home.

August 17, 2020


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