Michael Minassian – A Chill In The Air

Minassian profile Dec 2020

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Volume Two, December 2020.

Michael Minassian’s poems and short stories have appeared recently in such journals as Comstock Review, Poet Lore, and Third Wednesday. He is also a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online magazine. His chapbooks include poetry: The Arboriculturist (2010) and photography: Around the Bend (2017). His poetry collection, Time is Not a River, (2020) is available on Amazon. A second poetry collection entitled Morning Calm and a chapbook Jack Pays a Visit are also forthcoming in 2020. For more information: https://michaelminassian.com

A Chill In The Air

Autumn snuck in,
summer & sun

leaves fell
& scattered
like an afterthought.

Pages of a book filled
with random reminders
vanished in the failing light

as if I stood next to you,
our arms as distant
as the wind.

Old Friends

Last night our friends
came by for dinner—
we hadn’t seen each other
for over ten years.

We cooked a feast,
filled counters and table
with grapes and cheese,
fruit pies and chocolate cake,
bread, tureens of soup,
rice, potatoes, vegetables,
bottles of wine and cold drinks.

All of us so full,
we could barely push ourselves
away from the table,
telling stories of the past—
family histories and legends
about growing up in the Bronx
under the shadow of the 3rd Avenue El,
not far from the cottage where Poe
lived with his mother-in-law
and wife (and first cousin) Virginia
who coughed up blood
while playing the piano,
then died a few years later.

Poe stayed up nights,
language stalled,
while he waited for the dead
to rise like yeast,
stuck in limbo or disbelief,
cursing his fate:
all the women in his life
dying from TB.

Hoping his next life will be better,
free from disease and memories
of loss, premature burials,
and the pendulum’s breath—
a life with refrigerators
and iced tea, music,
poetry, and old friends
on the back porch.

The New Normal

—Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

This morning on our walk
we saw a cardinal swoop
down and land on a branch
directly in front of us,
appearing like Banquo,
drenched in red
and then gone.

Look, you said, it’s the first
one we’ve seen
since the lockdown.

But I only noticed
he flew alone, no mate
to return his song.

Is this the new normal?

Masks to hide our faces,
no touch, hug, or handshake,
washing our hands
like Lady Macbeth,
birds and other creatures
ghostlike as the rest of us.

This Fugitive Day

In the morning,
I watch the sun rise:
the sky brightens
like a piece of foil unfolding—
Cars roll past in the street;
from the treetops
birds announce their agenda—
I open the newspaper
it repeats the same stories—
I try to remember
which day it is, what date,
which mask to wear,
how many times I need
to wash my hands.
I prefer to measure time
by the movement
of the sun and moon,
the passage of one day
into the next—
the rest merely
clocks and the dead
talking to themselves.

© Michael Minassian