William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Memory’

How You Bury a Butterfly

Imagine a future museum that preserves the furniture of today — the overstuffed chairs, the massive sofas, the acre-wide, bottomless, bloated beds — and its lean and agile visitors looking on wide-eyed, shaking their heads. Why did they torture themselves? How did they live that way? High in the mountain wilderness, John Muir would use the scented branches of conifers to make a bed for the night. The crystal waters […]

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Moving Day

This morning I saw a hairy spider crawling on the edge of the counter in the bathroom. It was in no hurry. I found the small plastic jar we keep for such situations, guided him into it, covered the top, then released our surprised friend outside, where he trundled off through some dry moss. I try not to sit very often or for very long. I feel better when I […]

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Present Ancient

I am not ancient before my time; I am ancient in my time. July 13, 2021 . Present Ancient The easy print of a child’s handpreserved in plaster held in the presentancient version of his own   sweet mind Recently Banned Literature, June 13, 2013 . [ 1163 ]

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You Can See It All From Here

Having been granted this breath, I would be embarrassed to ask for anything more. Without it, there is nothing more. With it, as familiar as it seems, this glorious early morning summer scent is more than I can describe or define. It describes and defines me. It is the cosmic fruit, honey, and grain that sustains. It is the means and the way. Now, if only there is something I […]

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Apricots, Finches, Plums

Found early this morning, fallen from the tree: a very ripe, very sweet apricot — I know, because I ate it right after washing off the ants. The house finches prefer drinking from the shallow glass water dish that we have hanging from the fig tree. The main birdbath, it seems, is a little too large and too busy for them. After watering the barrels, planters, and pots behind the […]

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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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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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Walk on Water

A robin chirps, scolds, exclaims in one way, loudly, urgently, but sings from a treetop in another, sweetly, yet with remarkable projection, and you think there must be two kinds of birds making these sounds, not one. The little boy next door explains and describes things in a tongue not always easy to understand, yet you feel and are caught up in his happiness. And then later that same day, […]

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Sunday Morning as Rain Approached

How to describe the complex scent left behind by yesterday’s rain? First the nose asks the toes. Then they all have a good laugh at the brain. June 14, 2021 . Sunday Morning as Rain Approached Sunday morning as rain approached, we walked by the river among snowing cottonwoods. I inhaled a pound of lint. Yesterday I heard a girl I grew up with lost her husband to cancer. I […]

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