William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

One Hundred Degrees in the Shade

Was I awake, or asleep? Was I there, or somewhere else? Banish the word or and the answer is clear: there need be no answer. That, in its own simple, strange way, is the story of my life. My grandfather, emerging from the sycamore shade on the south end of his house, barefoot and carrying a shotgun in one hand and the bloody remains of a robin in the other, because robins eat grapes; me, too startled, respectful, and young to point out the poor logic in what he had done, his penny saved, his penny earned, worth one gumball, nothing more, the fatherless child of a genocide, his near death from the flu, the Great Depression carried forward, less one son from the war. Where was I then? Where was he? On one end of a farm carved out of the earth, neat with its straight lines and corner markers, level and irrigated. What had been there before was no concern of ours. One hundred degrees in the shade: he might have known better; I was still of the earth, as much vineyard and robin as wide-eyed grandson, a dove on the wire, a buzzard circling overhead, a ripe watermelon, a shout to the nearest corner store. Poor Grandpa, ignorant and tender, angry, hurt, and sure of himself, certain of certain things, unaware of others, much like everyone else. How I loved him.


[ 1691 ]

Categories: Daybook

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