William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Prune, Persimmon, Plum Bun

This afternoon I swept the walk, the driveway, and the moss-covered patio area behind the house, which was buried in dry, frosted birch leaves. Then I ate two dates, two prunes, a piece of dried mango, and a fresh ripe persimmon.

Lately I have had to delete several telephone messages, in which were the recorded voices of people telling us in ignorant, angry tones how we should vote. One man was actually yelling.

The fig tree is rapidly yellowing. The pine has dropped hundreds of needles onto the lacy red maple below. There are beads of pitch on its trunk.

The vine is yellow and has lost about half of its leaves, enough that I can already see which canes I will keep when I prune it this winter, and which I will cut away. And I have mentally pruned the apricot tree in the same way. I already know what it will look like when it is leafless and bare this winter, and where, the weather permitting, next year’s fruit will be. The blueberry, now red and yellow, needs no further attention. But like everything else growing in the yard, it is still worth visiting every day. It is not quite a burning bush, but it is lit from within.

The cold nights have silenced the crickets. But not the geese.

I have almost finished reading the fourth of the Harlem Renaissance novels, Plum Bun, by Jessie Redmon Fauset. Hers is yet another powerful, beautiful voice from that era. The work of these writers is not only a joy and a pleasure to read, it is valuable and important beyond measure. There is such wealth at our fingertips.

How sad, the man yelling in his telephone message. What good are his hatred and anger to him? What good are they to anyone? The tragedy is, he thinks he is free.

November 2, 2020


[ 918 ]

Categories: New Poems & Pieces

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,