A Thousand Miles

Someday, when the world least expects it, I will publish these words in a rugged tome of heavy, rough-cut pages. If I am dead, my spirit will guide the printer�s hands. And I will be there to greet the book when it is born, to inhale the intoxicating smell of paper, binding, and ink, and to proclaim my joy from the rooftop like a fiddler drunk on the sun and wind.

The book will magically conform to the shape of one�s coat pocket. When the light grows dim, the type will burn more intently against its background � a faithful companion on the lonely rails, a song for every mile, a letter for each fond memory of home.

The rail car sways. The trestle groans. The whistle sounds.
Outside, the landscape unfolds, a panorama graced by naked trees,
the patient earth in blossom, fruit on the bough, the painful colors
of autumn, columns of smoke, a calligraphy of wooden poles
strung with wire and marked by crows, quarter-notes to infinity.

This book is for the living and the dead, the earnest child, the widow all alone. It is for the laborer, kneeling on the ground. It is for teachers, nurses, and electricians, carpenters, sales clerks, and cooks. It contains graveyards and ball fields, libraries, doorways, sidewalks, taverns, coffee shops, and schools. Its voice can be heard at churches and bus stops, in hardware stores and prisons, in hospital rooms, maternity wards, and funeral homes. Its message issues from grateful lungs. It lives on in blood and glands and nails strengthened by death in dizzying glad profusion, and by the pungent worlds that swarm beneath each carcass, rock, and fallen limb.

The rail car sways. The trestle groans. The whistle sounds.
A thousand miles yet to go, past little towns tucked in safely for the night,
their street lamps burning and their dishes washed and put away,
past cities occupied by multitudes that find no rest.

A thousand miles yet to go, through mountains, deserts, valleys. At every station, beautiful strangers waiting to take me in. I join them at their tables, sit by their fires,
stay awake and listen to the rhythm of their sleep.

February 18, 2006

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Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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