William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Robin Smiles

The robins and I have a funny ritual. Every afternoon, in the cool shade of the house, they scratch up the front flowerbed and scatter dirt on the sidewalk. Every morning, I sweep it all back in. Then I water the sweet alyssum and dahlias, thus maintaining the conditions that attract them. Sometimes, when I stand by the window, I see them looking up at me, heads turned just so, smiling. Robin smiles are not like puppy smiles; they are more like kitten or goldfish smiles. To recognize them, it helps to be smiling yourself, and not with just any smile; it should be sincere and heartfelt, like the smile of a favorite old aunt, or a precious widowed friend of your mother, who has never colored her hair, and whose face is as delicately webbed as the supper dishes she’s used for the past fifty years. With a little luck, the smile will be unconscious. Picture the smile of a child whose kind services are earnestly needed in heaven; then picture the heaven that is this beautiful world, where you are a rainbow, and the softly blowing wind. Then begin.

August 26, 2020


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Categories: New Poems & Pieces

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