William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Aging’

The End of the Rainbow

What happens when you add fifteen years to memories that were forty years old when you first wrote them down? The answer, expressed mathematically, is this: 40 + 15 = surprise x gratitude. . The End of the Rainbow When I was in the fourth grade, our teacher gave us a short reading assignment about a porpoise. Since I had never heard of the animal or seen the word porpoise […]

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Bridge Across the Bay

My mother’s mother was the daughter of Henry and Eliza. Saying so is a bit like imagining lines between stars that twinkle brightly some nights, less so on others. But even when it’s cloudy, I know they are there. . Bridge Across the Bay When she was twelve, my mother’s mother rode a horse into the rugged mining town of Bodie, California, to get supplies. When she was fourteen, she […]

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Village Song

Sweet sadness, I will never turn my back on thee. . Village Song I have been long away But now I’m coming home Bright gold in my pocket A new bride on my arm. Come to the door, Mother, Is Father in the field? Come to the door, Mother, Is Father in the field? We climb the old stone steps To where my mother lay In a bed of flowers […]

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Prodigal Hands

Sometimes I think that without these writings,I would drift off into space like a child’s balloon. Sometimes I think I already have. Sometimes I rejoice in the return of my prodigal hands,and do not ask where they have been. Sometimes I am not I, but the wind. Sometimes I find this body by the road,and wonder if it might be something I said. Sometimes I simply bow my head. Field […]

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Please Stay

A warm steady rain. The dust all washed away, the tea made, the earth peeled and set out upon a plate, this world is the perfect meal for every child who comes to play. “Please stay.”             But they do not. Nor can we. She folds the cloth. Sets the seal. Ends the day. December 20, 2020 . [ 962 ]

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A Fair Beginning

On my deathbed, deep in the heart of age, I would be blessed to hear a voice say, You have made a fair beginning. And if there were no voice, another sign — wind along the eaves, or hummingbird befriend me. Should I hear it twice, I would not know my name; a third time, maybe — given to a tree outside, or a tiny newborn baby. December 12, 2020. […]

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Echoes

My first paying job away from the farm was picking grapes on the neighbor’s place immediately west of ours. I was twelve. I worked with the neighbor’s double-jointed son, who was the same age. We did that for two seasons. It was hot, dirty, and dangerous. The danger was from two sources: black widow spiders and yellow jackets. One year, in the space of three days, I killed thirty-four black […]

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Three Leaves

Near the old horse-drawn French plow, around which in spring the bluebells bloom, there is a tiny oak with three jagged yellow-orange leaves still firmly attached to its dark sturdy stem — its entire growth for the year. In all likelihood, a squirrel planted it there — a noble destiny from a forgotten meal; and a solemn joy to note, for someone who often cannot remember what he had for […]

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Punch Line

In this wet and windy weather, it’s lucky the neighbor’s fir trees haven’t blown over and landed on our house. Day by day, the yard and roof are strewn with more branches. New gaps and sky-patches have appeared in the trees, which allow the wind to pass through them, and keep the trees from having to absorb its full impact. And as I gaze up at them and listen to […]

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