William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Family History’

Kirk’s Nose (and other stories)

A few words about my recently departed brother — a short, incomplete remembrance, if you will: Kirk was born November 22, 1946, on our parents’ third anniversary. He was named Kourken Haig, after our father’s mother’s youngest brother, Kourken, and after our father’s older brother, Haig, who was killed in the Second World War. Kirk didn’t begin talking until he was four — then, suddenly, he started in with what […]

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Kirk

I note here the death of my eldest brother, Kirk. A research scientist in the field of photoacoustic infrared spectroscopy, Kirk was overtaken mid-stride late last May by an aggressive brain tumor. They ran side by side for a while, but the tumor was an ill-mannered competitor without the capacity to appreciate Kirk’s steady, fair-minded pacifism. Like so many of us, the tumor had to win. And so, two days […]

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A Few Clay Pots

Let’s leave behind a few clay pots and a worn out pair of sandals. As for dreams and thoughts, let’s keep them guessing. They will be anyway: Religion, music, poetry, science — cathedrals, symphonies, books — Fragments that represent, but never quite make, the whole. Our little daughter said it best with the very first word she spoke: Light. She was nine months old. And when she was seven, She […]

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A Flower for Marian

Today is the birthday of my father’s little sister, Marian. It is also the anniversary of my grandfather’s death in 1990 and the day the ancient orthodox Armenian Church observes Christmas — except in Jerusalem, where the Brotherhood at the Monastery of St. James follows an older calendar and Christmas falls on a later date. In the dimly lit, incense-laden sanctuary of St. James itself, there is a nook where […]

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Donne and Done

My mother passed away eight years ago today. September 25, 2021 . Donne and Done Give or take a few centuries, my mother lived ninety-one years, two months, and twenty-one days. Alzheimer’s Disease made for a sad, confused, prolonged ending, difficult and painful for her and her family. It was also beautiful. In very personal terms, it was and remains a gift. I watched her light go out — the […]

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Curious Symbols

The recorded voice of a long dead relative and the old associations it stirs. How the first fall rain wakens mold in the yard. Leaves in his eyes, moss on his arms. Then you realize that all those years he was alive, you witnessed only the talking version of him, and never, not once, the solitary, the silent. Or, perhaps, that was his silence. As this is yours. Pages and […]

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All of Us

Adults, intent on fences, wishing their backyards were bigger. Children, on swings and trampolines, as light and free as birds. May 16, 2021 . All of Us I climb the corner pine, my cousin ahead on the branch above. It’s our birthday month. Higher and higher. Needles and bark. When we come down, we’re sixty-five. Some say age. I say luck. We run a race. We hide. We throw clods. […]

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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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