Sunday 24 January 2021

Five Poems by Michael Minassian




That green and white


who appeared outside

the French doors

hovered and darted

around the purple

Phalaenopsis orchid.


Desire looks like this—

the brightest bloom,

the tug of air,

an eye in motion,

when everything

else is still.




On the island of Flores

a small species of humans

just over three and a half

feet tall lived in caves,

hunting giant rats

and hiding from

the rest of the world,

finally disappearing

sixty thousand years ago.


If they reappeared today,

I’m sure they would take selfies

with larger humans, risky

behaviour, like jumping

into a tiger’s cage

befriending bison,

or swimming with sharks,

dolphins or whales—

ask Ahab about getting

too close, a wooden ship

can splinter and sink

a whale bone leg the final link—


another reminder

there’s more than one way

to become extinct.




For the children who died

too young, buried in milk cartons


for all those who couldn’t breathe

with a knee on their neck


for the mad cows and sullen sheep

for the wolves polishing their nails


for the snow that piled up

against the roof refusing to melt


for the murder of crows

and the murmuring swallows


for the women left behind

abandoned and bleeding


for the doors and windows left open

when only cold wind entered


for my mother and father, sister

and brother, aunts and uncles


for whoever left us for dead

for all of those who follow


for the sounds and shape

of broken accents


for the extinct creatures, plants,

languages gone, spoken in silence


for the tongues lolling

across the ruined landscape


for the boatman rowing

across the river towards the horizon


for the distant shore that appears

no closer, for all who swallow water


for the open arms of the ocean

and those who never came back.




In the middle of the afternoon

I realized the day had grown quiet.


Light escaped and filled the room,

then entered my body.


Later at night, while lying in bed

I listened to my own heartbeat


like a restless bird

talking to itself, alone.





this morning seems thin

like a piece of burnt toast


leaves drift from branches

brittle and stiff


among tufts of grass

the garden overgrown


small creatures hunt

for a speck of food


dead insects or weeds

without thorns


a blue jay’s cry

cut off by a crow’s caw—


sound is a razor

sliced by the wind.




MICHAEL MINASSIAN’s poems and short stories have appeared recently in such journals as, Live Encounters, Lotus Eater, and Chiron Review. He is also a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online magazine. His chapbooks include poetry: The Arboriculturist and photography: Around the Bend. His poetry collections, Time is Not a River and Morning Calm are both available on Amazon. For more information:


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