William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Aging’

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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For Better or For Worse

It breaks my heart to see a long-married couple out for a walk together, but not walking together, the man ahead, the woman behind, the assumed command and superiority in his carriage, hers subservient, with neck slightly bent and head held just so, as if fearing to cause his displeasure. And yet they are out together. Why? What are their secret pains, their secret pasts, their secret thoughts? How long […]

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Almost Winter

Once inside and away from the chilly weather, the jade plants in their big clay pots turned quickly to face the tall south window. The glass is cool this time of year, as the fairy tale sunlight calls to them through the open wooden blinds. The smaller of the two pots holds three plants made from cuttings several years ago, taken from my mother’s twenty-year-old plant, the trunk of which […]

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For You, Love

You will forgive an old man, won’t you, his worn out poems, like shoes, by the door? Twenty-six degrees. An all-night freeze. The early morning sunlight upon the frosted fig leaves is causing them to fall in yellow clumps and bunches, their soft rattle audible through the partly open window. And the living, breathing orchard floor, inches deep with hands and stems, made in timely session by a single tree, […]

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Field Day

On a misty June morning in 1853, Thoreau almost literally stumbled on a giant mushroom or toadstool, a fungus of massive proportions which he likened to an umbrella or parasol. It was sixteen inches tall, about seven inches across at the top, with a trunk about an inch in diameter. To his surprise, he found it growing on an exposed hillside. He took it with him to town, careful to […]

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The Horizontal Life

Here in the time of yellowing maples and drifting leaves, the falls and streams are charged with new life by the recent thunderstorms. Numerous spiderwebs cross the path, so fine that one is not aware of them until they are broken in passing through; removed from around the forehead and eyes, parts still cling; or maybe it is the memory of their touch that has not quite died away. At […]

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Nicotine

Many years ago, in our old hometown, there was a Japanese man in his nineties who had smoked cigarettes all of his adult life and loved smoking them still, all with no apparent harm to his health. There are people like that, people who can live on terrible, unhealthy diets, or who can consume alcohol in amounts that would make others ill, and yet thrive. As the story goes, with […]

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Long Gray Train (I Pay the Porter)

I woke up in the middle of the night needing a sip of water. I walked down the hall, and as I passed through the dark sitting room, a sentence sprang to mind, or the beginning of a sentence — a phrase, a breath, a sound, a combination of sounds — a powerful suggestion, insistent, dreamlike, meaningful, profound, but I didn’t have the focus to pick up a pen and […]

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