William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Extreme Heat’

Standing and Crawling

I am on my feet; the laptop is resting on four sleeved volumes — two containing the work of Nora Zeale Hurston, and the others, nine novels from the Harlem Renaissance. The left side of the computer is above and partly hides my old Royal typewriter. To the right, The Life of Langston Hughes. Behind them, Plutarch’s Lives. Behind them, the complete writings of Robert Browning. And behind all that, […]

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Naming

The robin has left her nest. She was such a brave, patient little bird; likely it was her first attempt at motherhood. Her nest is a perfect work of art: a primitive weave, a deep and noble interpretation of dry grass and mud. It holds only one egg, dull, pale, almost transparent blue, beautiful even in its infertility. The extreme heat, the neighbor’s fireworks — it must have been difficult […]

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River Notes

Creeping thistle in full flower, arranged in a honeyed, aromatic bank several yards deep and many yards long; an eruption of tansy, not yet in bloom; wild carrots; birdsfoot trefoil. Seven rabbits, one so small its fur is coarse and looks as if it has just been licked for school by its mother. Several instances of deer scat, some containing cherry pits. A week and a heat wave after noticing […]

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Under the Tree

Two apricots fell yesterday, and another during the night; they weren’t fully ripe, but they were sweet enough to eat — casualties, it seems, of the heat. The other fruit is large and coloring, two or three weeks ahead of the usual ripening time. Food and shelter is a miracle. It’s not earned. It’s received. I don’t deserve the food on our table and the roof over our heads; to […]

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Sunday Salad

Silent, motionless, unblinking: after four years, robins have built another nest in the fig tree. I don’t know how many times I’ve passed under it without knowing it was there; several today; and recently when the heat was at its peak, I moved several potted plants into the shade, very near where the mother is patiently sitting. An ocean breeze has cooled the valley. Yesterday the temperature fell to eighty-seven […]

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Apocalypse and Ego

One hundred seventeen degrees. It may be that someday this lush green valley will be a desert. After all, it was once covered with ice. Yesterday we saw someone driving a big noisy pickup with flames painted on its sides. The bed was full of his beliefs and opinions, some of which blew out and were scattered along the roadside. He ran the light at Apocalypse and Ego, then sped […]

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Cross My Heart

One hundred thirteen degrees. Yesterday afternoon, in the grass behind the house, we set a little sprinkler for the birds. It made a shallow lake in the shade. And out they came from the bushes, and down from the trees, children of the leaves. The tomatoes and peppers did not mind the heat. We protected the cucumbers with a sheet. We will again today. At four this morning it was […]

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