Come on Down

Sixty years back swamps in Florida
were road free and con men sold land
in the Everglades or lots on the beach.

Come on down, the TV commercials
blared, until my father and his friends
took 2nd mortgages and signed
for pieces of Paradise,
palm trees and warm sunsets.

When they came back from Miami,
grim-faced and sunburned,
no one talked about the barren
water-soaked land,
snakes, mosquitoes, gators,
or the abandoned mobile home
at the end of a dusty road.

The laughter still ringing
in their ears and back home
wives too angry for tears,
wiping down the kitchen tables
their lips pressed in a straight line
flat as the horizon along the River of Grass.


A Sound Like Spiderwebs

In the dream, I’m getting a haircut
though I feel no draining of strength
or pressure on the brain;
my stylist, née barber, seems confused;
he fiddles with a few strands of hair
sticking straight up on the back of my head;
then wanders off to answer a phone call
in another room, the one in back of sleep;
other customers crowd around me
waiting their turn, then become impatient
demanding I leave, but I refuse,
sensing the dream is about to shift;
I want to be ready; I want to look my best;
next to me, on the bed, my wife, turns
& takes my hand; in sleep, she flies,
she says, without wind, or wings, or words.


Reflections on a River

Walking along the river
I saw an old friend
arranging flowers and poems
floating petals and bits
of paper on the surface
— a geometry
of broken forms.

Above, the lunatic moon
refused to remove
its white wig
as mist swirled
around my friend’s pen,
the flowers walking on water
his words an entourage
slicing the night sky.


Michael Minassian is a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online magazine. His chapbooks include poetry: The Arboriculturist (2010) and photography: Around the Bend (2017). For more information: