William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Songs and Letters

On the Eighth Day

On the eighth day, a starving poet awakened to find his poems had turned into fresh, warm loaves of bread. Delighted by his change in fortune, he placed one of the loaves in the middle of his work table and cut into it with a knife. But the bread did not smell like bread. It smelled like a eucalyptus tree after a fall rain. And so he tried a different […]

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The Calling

When I was fifteen, I showed my sophomore English teacher several of my very first poems, which I had written out by hand. He read them eagerly at his desk and said, “Bill, this is poetry,” as if nothing in the world could have pleased him more. He was twenty-four, had just begun his teaching career, and, in the revolutionary spirit of the times, liked to experiment in his class […]

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Faces

The trees are still bare, but their branches are a different color. The sky has changed, and although trees are not mirrors, I think they must reflect the images and light they do not absorb. Their sap, too, is rising, like blood just beneath the skin. We know, of course, that even the moon reflects the light of the sun. Rocks, soil, terrain — moonlight is sunlight, gracefully transformed. The […]

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Traveler

On the north side of the house, not far from the front door, we have a small shade garden that has come about almost entirely of its own accord. It began with the stump of an old bush, a dripping faucet, and a small sword fern under a nearby rhododendron. The fern, moreover, had long been ignored, a stunted, drought-worthy survivor. At the base of the stump is a small […]

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