William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Learning to Walk

Old friends, old souls — who else would care for these pages?

In today’s mail I received a fall shoe catalog. It made me wonder: when was the last time I wore socks or shoes? I wish I had noted the date. A fair guess, though, would be somewhere in the neighborhood of four months. In that time my feet, ankles, and legs have gained a tremendous amount of strength. Climbing on mountain paths, stepping on rocks in streams, I feel sure-footed — I can make the extra stretch without aggravating a heel or twisting an ankle; I can walk miles over uneven terrain and feel rested and ready on a single night’s sleep. In other words, in terms of walking, I can do what a normal human being should be able to do. At the same time, it can be said that learning to walk at the age of sixty-five is no small thing. Of course, winter is coming. While I would never presume to live through it, I am eager to see how it goes.

Some new neighbors are moving in across the street, one house to the west, where lived a very nice woman in her early eighties who died of the virus around the first of the year; her son, who also died, having brought it to her last Thanksgiving. It is sad to think of one’s presence being such a strange, sorrowful gift. It is just as sad that the very mention of such a thing can rouse anger and have political implications. Compassionate, reasoning adults do not act and see the world in that way. They are too kind to share things on their social media pages that alienate others with whom they disagree, while assuming they know how they feel deep down about the subject, or what troubles they have, or fears they may entertain. Getting a shot is a private decision. It makes no one a hero. It gives no one a right to point a finger at someone who does not get a shot. Even if the shots keep people alive with no long-term side effects, the very point of being alive is to love one another, regardless of what we think or believe.

October 1, 2021. Late afternoon.


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Categories: New Poems & Pieces

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