William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings


Many years ago, in our old hometown, there was a Japanese man in his nineties who had smoked cigarettes all of his adult life and loved smoking them still, all with no apparent harm to his health. There are people like that, people who can live on terrible, unhealthy diets, or who can consume alcohol in amounts that would make others ill, and yet thrive. As the story goes, with all of the warnings about what smoking can do to one’s health, the old man’s children, old enough to be grandparents and great-grandparents themselves, decided that for his own good he should give up his precious habit, and nagged him until he did. Of course it wasn’t long until he died. At the age of ninety-six, what else could he do? He was too old for his beloved farm work, too old to go off fishing by himself, too old to marry again and raise another family. Anyway, these were his children. Why resist? He knew they meant well. It was better to let them feel good about themselves.

The vineyard yellows, like my uncle’s mustache.


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Categories: New Poems & Pieces

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