William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘War’

Oaks Remember Poppies

A friendly neighbor out walking is glad to see us. After exchanging greetings, he reaches out as we pass, and almost touches my shoulder. Someday we might even know each other’s names, and then forget them when we’re older. And someday when it’s warmer, we will be colder.   Oaks Remember Poppies Sunflower sprouting in a paw-print. A pot on the step by the door. Oaks remember poppies. We forget […]

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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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Necessity and an Ice-Water Bath

When we take more than we need, we take it from each other. And when we take it from each other, we steal. And what we steal, we waste, because it is more than we need. But the very crime is its punishment. It is poverty. It is war. It is a series of complicated political and religious beliefs that are no more than excuses. It is the unwillingness to […]

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All the World’s Children

Everyone who was there is gone. This rain is their conversation — a gust of night air through the open front door, the bark of the dog, the winter crunch of a shoe in the yard. And far off — can you hear it? — a child is being born.   All the World’s Children On the most painful of days, all the world’s children come forth bearing flowers: red […]

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Just Long Enough

I love moss — its color, its texture, its immediate response to fog or the slightest hint of rain, and how it thrives on thoughtful compression and familiar touch, growing thick beneath footsteps on sidewalks, in lawns, and on forest paths. In some ways it is almost human. Or maybe we are almost moss. This time of year, the retaining walls, the stone steps, and the wooden borders of the […]

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The Fall Way Home

Of the clump of hyacinths we planted recently in front of the crape myrtle I now call a pomegranate, the Muscari armeniacum jumped out of the ground as soon as we turned our backs. Soon there will be enough to cover an entire hillside. Then I will exchange my pen for a shepherd’s crook, and lead my sheep into their purple presence. Fig leaves, bright-yellow, as big as elephant ears. […]

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After the War

Yes, where there’s a monster, a mob will form. Some will throw stones. Others will cheer the monster on. This will be accompanied by systems of outraged justice and law, hypocrisy, and war. And yet through it all, there will be those who love. They will not be part of the mob. They will not steal. They will not kill. They will not be indignant or righteous or loud. And […]

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The Rain and the Dead

A smidgen of rain. Dry under the trees. The timeless scent of crushed dry leaves. It sounds almost like a recipe. And it is, for paradise, for calm, for peace, for sanity. Where have the lines gone, the edges, borders, and boundaries? To graveyards, every one. Another leaf is down.   The Rain and the Dead We can count storms but not raindrops, wars, but not the dead falling thick […]

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