Thursday, April 30, 2009

William Michaelian: Keeper of the Bones

The old man told me
he himself had died
a long, long time ago.

He pointed to a distant plain,
a tide of earth that once
bled mountains of their loam.

The harvest there is rich,
he said, it never ends,
the fingers, limbs, and skulls.

In the sun beside his hut,
an ancient cart trembled
beneath a village of bones,

A genocide of sightless eyes
that sang the wind
proud and low and long,

An insane congregation
borne by wooden wheels,
a cemetery without a home.

From out across the plain,
the old man touched
my fleshless, bleached-white arm.

From out across the plain,
I too became
a keeper of the bones.

October 8, 2005

From Songs and Letters, reprinted with the author’s permission.

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