Michael Minassian – Ingapirca, Ecuador

Minassian LE P&W 1 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume One Nov-Dec 2023

Ingapirca, Ecuador, poems by Michael Minassian.

Ingapirca, Ecuador

Ten thousand feet above sea level
we walk hand in hand
among stone toppled ruins
of the Inca empire.

Above us blue sky
and a few fast-moving clouds—
white puffs skirt the tops
of mountains we look down on
from our vantage of sloping time.

Black and white sheep,
green terraced farms,
reaching back a thousand years,
dotted now with pickup trucks
and satellite dishes.

A few notes from the zampona
the blind musician plays
reach us above the constant
whistle of the wind.

The thin air
making each breath a gift,
cold and sharp
as a blade of ice.

The Big Crunch

I imagine what the last day
of the universe will be like
the one they call the Big Crunch—

the world and all the stars explode,
disappearing in a giant black hole—

With sirens blaring and lights flashing,
and solemn civil defense announcements
before the President of the World
gives a short inspirational speech—

I hope the universe itself
would send some sign—
God’s billboard flashing an alert
on the cosmic highway
as if children or seniors were missing in cars,
or a giant hand piercing the sky
and clouds parting in thunder and light.

Next, the moon will explode
sending the seas overhead
and the sun flare white
then red then black.

I might feel hot or cold
or perhaps feel nothing—
all of existence pressed and ground
down into one dark spot
like a single coffee grind
at the bottom of your empty cup.

The Mermaid

Taking a bus from Miami
to Orlando, Ophelia
decides she will never
fall in love again,
or write postcards
she never mails.

Tired of princes and queens,
taxi drivers and acrobatic sex,
she takes swimming lessons,
the only adult in the class.

At Weeki-Wachee,
she gets a job
wearing a bikini top
and fish tails,
green and blue scales—

Surrounded by undulating
plants, Ophelia’s
thick golden hair,
drifts above her
like the long drowned.

Tourists ooh and aah
from behind the glass.

Day dreaming while she swims,
her tears salt the aquarium.

She learns to hold her breath
for minutes, then hours,
preferring the underwater
world to life on the surface.

Having no need for gravity,
she floats among the fish
learns their language:
the flip of a fin or tail
the shape of the mouth
the vibration of a gill—
eyes wide open
in sleep or dreams.

© Michael Minassian

Michael Minassian is a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online poetry journal. His poetry collections Time is Not a River, Morning Calm, and A Matter of Timing as well as a new chapbook, Jack Pays a Visit, are all available on Amazon. For more information:

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