William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Family History’

Lemon Sun, Pomegranate Blood

Dream, memory, and the written word — in my experience, these overlap to such a degree that it would be useless to ask which has the most powerful influence on the others. Imagine three very old, sympathetic sisters. Finally, one of them dies. The surviving two follow her to the cemetery, and the conversation between the three of them continues there. . Lemon Sun, Pomegranate Blood The little unpainted house […]

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Grief’s Exile

Our family library contains more than books. It contains cousins, uncles, and a wealth of secret, sacred knowledge which would be comical to some, useless to most, and inspiring, if not dangerous, to eager, impressionable young minds. For it was this knowledge, embodied in these living examples, that made me want to be a writer long before I knew the real meaning of the word. Dangerous? Oh, yes, when one […]

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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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The Grapes Are Early This Year

Our grapes, nearly ripe, were mostly ruined last night by a raccoon. At least two-thirds of the crop was on the ground, along with several leaves, the berries shattered from the bunches and scattered around. We had checked on the vine late yesterday evening and all was well. Then, early this morning, I noticed several places around the house where the animal had dug, the telltale holes being unmistakable. We […]

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A Few Nasturtiums

Through an open window in the dark, you imagine what you’ve seen before. Then you hear an owl, who-hooting in the firs. Coffee’s ready. Scarce past four. You imagine not a thing before. And the owl concurs.   A Few Nasturtiums A few nasturtiums where nothing else will grow. Fir needles. Who can count them all. And the tales they tell of galaxies in dew and dust. A calligrapher’s turn […]

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Maybe on a Summer Day

Twenty-six degrees. I’m reminded of a similar morning in my mother’s old age, when the furnace stopped working, and how for the entire time during its repair, I chatted with the workman while she stayed in bed to keep warm, snug and unperturbed beneath her grandmother’s quilt, secure in the haze of her thought and non-thought, as if her dementia were a pair of soft comfortable pajamas. Now my wife […]

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If this is the letter O,
I can only wonder about the rest of the alphabet,
and what brings on these spells.

The Letter O — August 26, 2019

The Letter O — August 26, 2019

In a Vast White Space

A little boy, with a little apple and sticky hands,
busy the spirits about him, busy the wind,
many the voices, solemn, joyous,

in a vast white space,
written in plain white words,
a white ball chased by a wide white hound,

an alphabet of snow,

and you, with your funny little arrows,
ink-tipped, turned upon yourself,

in a vast white space, an apple,
turning red.

Recently Banned Literature, June 2, 2014

(written on the nineteenth anniversary of my father’s death)




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The Letter O — In a Vast White Space

The Sunlight on My Mother’s Face

Well before daylight, in the sublime quiet, reading the letters of a thoughtful young man who later lost his life in the Civil War at the age of twenty-nine: Charles Russell Lowell, nephew of the great writer and poet, James Russell Lowell. Then, suddenly, raindrops — so few in number it reminds me of my mother sprinkling water on her ironing. June 26, 2019   The Sunlight on My Mother’s […]

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