William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Skunk Detail

When I turned on the front step light at 4:30 this morning, the skunk seemed only mildly surprised. It wasn’t on the step, just a few feet beyond. It sniffed the air and peered at me through its thick glasses, then moved off into the darkness, toward the pine.

Careful alert regard, mutual curiosity — I’ve known friendships to begin this way. Another way is the wondrous miracle of instant recognition and understanding, which can happen in the flesh, and also across great distances, through something as simple as the sound of a voice or a piece of writing. There is a smile, an inward bow, a shiver, a thrill.

Now, I might ask what doesn’t happen in the flesh? And if I do — and I’m not saying I will — please don’t rush to an answer. Answers have a way of becoming prisons. They’re orderly and safe, perhaps, but if you focus only on a patch of blue sky through the bars, you could be missing beautiful thunder clouds on the horizon. You might even sleep through the end of the world.

Afternoon. Forty-five minutes — an amazing nap. Not because I awoke rested, which is miracle enough, but that I opened my eyes to the intimate design of my eventual end: the winking off of a bright little light, not to come on again.

August 8, 2022


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Categories: A Few More Scratches

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3 replies

  1. “…the intimate design”, created by Me. But how could I know or will I see until that ‘bright little light” goes out, the last great irony.

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