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Aaron Poochigian Five Poems

Hush Now 


Soon as the shift to darkness in the sky

left me alone to my own dark lanai

I must have slipped off somewhere wild since, wan

and long-haired, with a cowgirl flannel on,

this chick was crooning, like a lullaby,

lyrics about a whole world gone awry:


Hush, little pretty, hush. There, there.

Day is done, and night has won,

and Ending Times is everywhere. 


Don’t cry, don’t cry. Ten years of drought:

the plow is rust; the harvest, dust. 

There’s nothing left to fret about. 


Wolves long ago got through the fence,

circled the fold and, as of old,

done massacred the innocents. 


It’s peaceful now: the mockingbird 

that trilled before don’t sing no more.

Papa’s been gone for months. No word. 


Hush, little pretty, hush. There, there.

Day is done, and night has won,

and Ending Times is everywhere. 


She blew a kiss, dissolved, and there was dawn,

smog-red—a credible phenomenon.

Steel mesh immured, buzz, buzz, a frantic fly.

Whorled sirens were approaching.


First Published in Able Muse Review


The Point

In memory of my father, the philosopher Donald Poochigian, 1943—2017

Last month my Pops the Sage, the Brain, the Wiz,
waxed geometric, just between us guys:
“What is a point? A locus without size.
No length, no width, no depth, but there it is.”

By then the specialist in What Exists
had grown so shrunken he would not survive.
(The tapeworm tubing keeping him alive
seemed to be sucking life out through his wrists.)

I get it: skin and ticker, lung and joint,
we wither faster than we feel we should.
What learns to walk lies down again for good.
A rotten deal. But what about that point

void of affliction, misery and prayer?
No length, no width, no depth, but it is there.



First Published in North Dakota Quarterly.

The Hearkener


It’s late: the lisps have left the road, and now

the sprinkler heads have hushed. Why does that hound

keep barking, like, You out there? You out there?

The relish of it? Funny how the sound

comes off as pious, as a canine prayer

to Fenrir, maybe, or Sumerian Bau.

I’ve got no Buddha beaming on a shelf,

no Crucifixion screwed into a wall,

no creed at all except a crazy sense

of something with its ears on—a Late-Night-Call-

Receiver, an Indulgent Audience.

Who’s there? I’m not just thinking to myself.

Odd that such one-way gab does not feel odd—

The woofs echoing through the neighborhood;

the words issuing from a skeptic font

and washing up where they are understood.

Why beg for blessings? This is all I want:

intimacy with what might be a god.

Where do you lurk, World-shrink? The big Above?

Drowsiness blacking out the monologue,

I sign off with an awkward Thanks, alright?

as solemn as Amen. (And brother dog

keeps tossing bow-wow-wow into the night,

and something’s there to catch his verbal love.)

The Quickening

Consider miles and miles from anywhere
the embryo tornado that has been
making the pinwheels in the flowerbed spin,
how it is ruffling the plain brown hair

of Faith who, big on faith and God and prayer,
believes storms have a moral origin.
Calm on the porch—why bother going in?—
she notes the touchdown from a rocking chair.

What plumps her stomach’s due, in part, to Mister
O’Shaughnessy, a married high-school teacher.
His visit kicks her guts and squirms like shame.

Lord of the Prairie now, the class-five twister
is roaring louder than the local preacher.
She goes on knitting booties all the same.



First Published in Spillway.

The Living Will

Too grizzled now to play the wunderkind,
too apt to sit where I have often sat,

I, Aaron Vaughn Poochigian, now that

my nose has thickened and my hair has thinned,

do hereby most imprudently rescind
the rulebook I propounded, all my sessile
growths and impediments, so that, a vessel
beholden only to the waves and wind,

I may be free to drift out of the bay.
Hereafter I shall whiff the fragrant coasts
of Araby, Dundeya and Cathay

and, further out, beyond the round world’s spalling
margin, hear Odysseus’ ghosts
squeaking like hinges, hear the Sirens calling.



First Published in The New Criterion.

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