Wednesday, August 4, 2010


During the summer of 2004, my youngest son, then in high school, worked six ten-hour days a week on a nearby farm that grows irises. I made his breakfast at five every morning and then drove him to work before six. This is the sound of One Hand Clapping on the seventh day of August that year, written as soon as I’d returned from our early morning ride:

The big news, the exciting news, is that I made pancakes two times this week, thus ending our pre-dawn scrambled egg marathon. They were heavenly. And making them is an emotional experience, because it takes me back to when my father made pancakes for me when I was seventeen and working at the packing house. As I watch them cook, spatula in hand, it is as if he is standing there beside me. Aren’t those ready to turn? I was just going to turn them. It looks like they’re ready. I’m turning them now. There. See? Perfect. How many would you like? Four? I could eat twice that many. Eight it is, then. Sit down. There’s the paper. Don’t you want some coffee? No. I’m going now. Going? What’s your hurry? I can’t stay. You know that. No. Wait. Don’t leave. I’m going.... Oh, God damn it all.... an eruption of wings, footsteps in the dust, a falling star, light shining on a drop of dew. Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye for now. And good morning to you, dear son. Here are your pancakes. Eat them and rejoice. Eat them, and be aware of the spirit in this room.... Ah, grief. My old friend. You have found me once again. I see you are well. Sit with me, then, and we’ll talk awhile.

One Hand Clapping

In the Forum: understanding that I understand that I don’t understand.


Elisabeth said...

Wow William, layers of time, so many beautiful resonances mixed in with the taste of pancakes and father and son love.

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

Yes I loved too this post... is really deep, you way to write is special Willaim

Woman in a Window said...

Oh, these sadnesses that are yet still gifts, leaves falling.

Beautiful beautiful you.


Anthony Duce said...

Great piece. I love the family connections. The experiences similar in a way. Thanks

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Elisabeth, for sweetening it with a bit of honey on top.

Laura, thank you. You always bring your heart.

Erin, my poet-friend, somber-bright greetings to you.

Anthony, thanks. Referring to life’s cycles and happenings, my parents used to say, “The door swings in and the door swings out.”

vazambam said...

A......shall I say it?........moving feast deliciously presented. Can I have seconds?

William Michaelian said...

Vassilis, old pal, I’ll go you one better: you can have minutes.

Jean Spitzer said...


William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Jean.