Saturday, September 26, 2009


A foolish assumption, that trees don’t dream.
No, and they don’t look like old men, either,
when the streetlights shine through them just so.

Lacy maple, big round sleepless eyes. An uncle’s
mustache low upon the ground. Blink twice,
now he’s gone. Night has rearranged the world.

(first publication)

“Restless” added to Poems, Slightly Used.


Nazia Mallick said...

Love the imagery!

'Night has rearranged the world', is such an intense line.

William Michaelian said...

Nazia, thank you. What strikes me about that line now is that it sounds so final, when we know the moment it captures is only temporary. It makes the poem a kind of snapshot, in a way.

Elisabeth said...

I'm struck by image of the trees as 'old men... when the streetlights shine of them', juxtaposed with this particular profile shot of you.

And thoughts of your uncle's mustache low to the ground, gone in the blink of an eye, so evocative of the passage of time.

William Michaelian said...

Elisabeth, the amazing thing is, last night, a few hours after writing this poem, I dreamed of the very same uncle I had in mind. It was just a fragment, really: I hugged him — something I never did when he was alive — thinking, “how do you hug a lion?” And he smiled. We were standing next to the large mural he had painted on one wall of the aluminum equipment shed behind our house on the farm back in the 1960s. And there the dream ended.

Paul L. Martin said...

I love this poem, William. Indeed, there is something magical when I walk late at night under maple and fruitless mulberry trees in my neighborhood. They are dusted with the light of street lamps and the moon. I await the arrival of Peter Pan. The wind rustles the leaves and I can taste fall in the air, even when it is still 80 degrees in the middle of the night.

Great, minimalist work here!

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Paul. I love the way night softens the edges and lets the imagination take over. What an ancient, potent relationship we have with the dark.