Assassinate the Dictionary: Three Poems by Michael Minassian

By Michael Minassian

 

Poetry Origami

I want to fold
the past
like an origami
and make of it
something else,
a suggested shape
of the fold:

a beak,
or the neck
of a horse,
perhaps,
or a wing
the color
of a teardrop;

_______paper
a substitute
for words;
the lines
of a poem
too long
or short
for the page.

 

The Children Send Postcards

The children send postcards
to their parents, missing
since birth, lost in a parking
lot behind the empty hospital,

the one that used to be a church
and before that the town jail,
built on the ruins of a newspaper
office that once published

the names of unwed mothers
and the anonymous fathers
buried on boot hill, the old
wooden crosses leaning into each

other as if they would hear
what the other confessed –
no one goes up there anymore,
not even to deliver the mail.

 

The House Is Full

Unable to sleep one night,
I try counting sheep, automobiles,
and threads in the carpet;
I hear my wife’s gentle breathing,
wondering why she remains
indifferent to my insomnia.

Tiptoeing down the stairs,
I see myself at different ages,
spaced out about 10 years apart,
sitting squeezed together on the couch
shoulder to shoulder, knee to knee,
surrounded by words: whole sentences
and paragraphs terrorizing my past selves,
so I push through and amputate
language, torture thought,
& assassinate the dictionary in charge,
rounding up the shivering shades
& shadows, then spitting them out
in the back of an old journal
where they grasp these words
like debris from a shipwreck
when all the lifeboats have gone.


Michael Minassian lives in San Antonio, Texas. His poems have appeared  in such journals as The Aurorean, The Broken Plate, Exit 7, The Galway Review, and The Meadow. He is also the writer/producer of the podcast series Eye On Literature.  Amsterdam Press published a chapbook of his poems entitled The Arboriculturist in 2010.

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