William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Childhood’

Genesis, 1962

My father always said that no one taught him to swim, that he simply jumped into the wide mossy ditch with all the other boys and learned then and there on his own. He did not say he had already learned by watching, while dancing naked with glee on the bank in the hot summer sun. Some of the same vineyards that were there in his childhood were there in […]

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First Came the Meanings

To me, one strange thing about living is having a name. Another is so many not thinking it strange.   First Came the Meanings First came the meanings then their names chamomile squirrel supper table the boy himself a pebble down a well loving the hand that let him go Recently Banned Literature, May 10, 2013

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Sunlight Stored In Bone

Once, during my childhood, I caused the death of a bird. Or I was caused to cause it, to drive a lesson home — That fallen from a tree, a sparrow is a rainbow on the ground.   Sunlight Stored In Bone Sunlight stored in bone — life, limb, bird, song, leaf, gone, flown. Recently Banned Literature, December 2, 2014

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Disaster

During my San Joaquin Valley childhood, there were still a few boxcars used as homes, tucked away in odd corners on useless bits of land. Nestled in mounds of chickweed, with old blown tires and chickens in the yard, they seemed like seeds scattered by a giant’s hand, or fruit fallen from a tree in a homegrown fairy tale. Life inside could not have been comfortable, too cold in winter, […]

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Nothing

I have not been myself lately, said the wind. Nor I, said the mountain. The shepherd boy, who had been listening, took up his flute. When he was an old man, he put it down again and died. And the wind rushed, and the mountain blushed, to the depths of the canyon.   Nothing I said to my mother, I said to my father, “I have nothing to do.” To […]

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Where Pain Is Unexplained

Where pain is unexplained, I liken it to love. I liken it to childhood, too. No? Isn’t it like looking deeply into brown eyes, Into green, into gray, into blue? Where pain is unexplained, I see sweet ripples on the pond. If swimming is to lose, is drowning living on? I think it must be so, where love is true, And pain is unexplained. February 27, after an early-morning walk […]

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The Hat Rack

My Uncle Before the War

After the grapes were all in and the raisins were picked up, boxed, and hauled away, my father’s attention turned to fall cleanup and house-painting chores. Always busy, everything in its right time and season. Oil-based, lead-based work. Paint thinner. Fumes. Open windows. Worried flies. The kitchen walls, the washroom — they stand out, as does the hat rack his older brother built before he was killed in the war. […]

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Slow Dance

And what of school? I remember our sturdy little desks in rows, bright, flat crayons, and how their taste resembled their smell, jars of glue, the heavy-paper mess, girls with long straight hair and curls, their fragrant dress, the playground, races, marble games and spinning tops, climbing bars and tractor tires stood up in the ground. And, not far off, in a cloud of dragonflies and dust, a country graveyard […]

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Robin Thoughts

Why did the robin take a vigorous bath yesterday, on a thirty-five-degree winter afternoon? Did he do it to spite the incoming snow? And where is he now? Near the ice-rimmed pool, watching the white-bright world from under the rhododendron, warm to his red in its bed of dry leaves? At two this morning, I was awakened by snow-light. Out walking before seven, I saw a boy in front of […]

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