William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Childhood’

The King’s English

When I was about ten or twelve, I had a ten-gallon aquarium. In it were zebra fish, little darting neons, tetras, a sword fish, an angel fish, a scavenger, and a bright and very friendly silver dollar — these were their names, at least as I recall them. The angel fish and silver dollar were small when we brought them home, but they grew rapidly, the angel fish becoming stately […]

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Troonk and Hamph

Among other things, in his journal entry for May 25, 1852, Thoreau mentions hearing the first troonk of a bullfrog — a lovely word, although I have for years spelled the sound hamph — this based on my recurring basso profondo imitation of bullfrogs heard while drifting with my father in his twelve-foot aluminum boat down California’s Kings River, in that lazy stretch below the town of Reedley where it […]

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High and Low

A baby’s high chair so high his head’s in the clouds, and, to feed the dear angel, we must climb the nearest mountain through ice and snow with his tiny spoon in our hands — but why do we imagine such things? To explain, I suppose, the ice on our shoes, and the spikes and the ropes. A man’s thoughts so low we must sound the very depths of hell […]

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Main Street

I remember from my boyhood a man in the old hometown who had survived a tragic car accident, and whose face was disfigured beyond recognition, having been reconstructed by the doctors into a featureless, expressionless mask. In the barbershop one day, the first time I saw him, I watched from my place high in the third chair as he entered and exchanged friendly greetings with several men waiting who apparently […]

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His Own Clock Ticking

Expecting snow. Expecting rain. Expecting spring. Expecting soup. Expecting carrots. Expecting beans. Expecting love. Expecting death. Expecting wings.   His Own Clock Ticking A human aware of his own clock ticking, I give you the weather — as it relates to my own, which, having just bathed, is moist and warm and promising sun — a day begun precisely so, is all that matters, and must not be ignored. How […]

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Someday

All smiles late yesterday afternoon, our twelve-year-old grandson told me that earlier in the day he had looked me up on the internet — I googled you were the words he used. I said, You did? That’s funny, I didn’t feel anything — at the same time realizing that from this point on I would begin to seem a little different in his eyes, as this portion of my life […]

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The Artist With the Frozen Teeth

How quickly my life is passing — as if each day it finds new means of escape, and is even now leaking out through my hair ends and fingertips — a joyful tingling sensation, light beyond light, darkness of a depth unimaginable — new birth, a second coming of age, my honeyed childhood on fresh warm bread just as the sun goes down — voices; wings; a strange starry canvas; […]

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A Thimbleful of Ash

My mother writing Christmas cards, late into the night. The darkest time. The greatest light. December 6, 2019   A Thimbleful of Ash If you don’t eat your supper, Santa won’t visit us tonight. All the cookies will go to waste, the cards, the toys, the bows. A fire in the fireplace. The front door left unlocked. Somehow, Santa knows. On the porch, a stack of wood. Long lives, a […]

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A Sturdy Leaf

Memory’s a sturdy leaf — sycamore, say, or valley oak, placed beneath a sheet of grade school paper fleck’d and grain’d, and a crayon in your hand — rubb’d across its ribs and veins, it surfaces in your chosen color — and all you love begins again — father, mother, supper table, open kitchen window — and somewhere, off in the distance, carry’d nigh by the divine providence of dust […]

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