Back from the Abyss

Eight o’clock. After one of the strangest dreams of my life, I am back from the abyss. This is what happened: at three-thirty this morning, without being told by anyone or having been given any reason, I learned that I was to be cremated . . . while I was alive and awake and in possession of my senses. After talking briefly with several people I had never seen, I was joined by my grandmother’s cousin, William Saroyan. For a dead man, he was looking remarkably well, and was even wearing a hat. My first impression was that he was unaware of my situation, but then it seemed he was simply not impressed by it. Instead, he was more interested in the other people in the room, and began asking them personal questions in his extremely loud voice — so loud it made them disappear. And then he disappeared.

“Very well,” I said. “Let’s get on with it.”

I walked into another room, and asked the young man waiting there if there might not be some mistake. When he assured me that all was in order, I felt my heart sink. All I could think was, What a disappointment. Then I asked how long it would take. His answer was precise: I would be reduced to ash in exactly four minutes and fifty-five seconds.

I imagined myself baking, and my features falling away one by one to reveal my bones.

The young man directed me to a comfortable chair with its back against the wall. I sat down in the chair, took a deep breath, and waited. He smiled, then turned a knob on the wall. At first I felt nothing. Then I became aware of my heart, beating faithfully inside me like a clock. I began to feel warm. The young man stepped outside. I was alone. Warmer. Warmer. This is what it’s like, I thought, as a heavy drowsiness came over me. I guess one just sleeps through it . . .

Then, as I was about to let go and drift away forever, my eyes opened.

The dream was over.

Now I am here, writing. Or am I?

March 26, 2006

Previous Entry     Next Entry     Return to Songs and Letters     About the Author
Back from the Abyss
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

Main Page
Author’s Note
A Listening Thing
Among the Living
No Time to Cut My Hair
One Hand Clapping
Songs and Letters
Collected Poems
Early Short Stories
Armenian Translations
Cosmopsis Print Editions
News and Reviews
Highly Recommended
Let’s Eat
Favorite Books & Authors
Useless Information
E-mail & Parting Thoughts

Flippantly Answered Questions

Top of Page