Hagop Sandaljian's Microminiatures
I love the mere existence of the word
a complex idea in a small word, two syllables
for the ability to wait and work calmly through adversity.
A complex idea in a small world, in the
of a needle, a sculpture made of dust motes,
painted with a sharpened human hair: Mister
Sandaldjian's tiny self portrait: his
bald head rolling
down one of his hairs, suspended across the girders
of the needle his wife used to support them while he worked,
hunched over his microscope, building
nine birds on one hair
of his 3-month old grandson, building the Pope holding a cross
two blood cells thick, adding color in the stillness between pulses.
Late at night, with less static, less
dust, less vibration from traffic,
he'd work for 14 months on one. Miniaturists should wear silk,
refrain from speaking over their work. Breath kills. He crawled
his table for weeks looking for the "supremely
he refused to reattempt," lost in a typhoon sneeze. It is a
to be big. Think of a cat's bell and how hard it is to wear one.
I try to see what's inside the pupil
of my eye, close up, closer,
and see only my own night. But Mr. Sandaldjian sees, and sculpts.
Invite me, sir, to the eighty-third chamber of your nautilus shell.
It is glorious to be little, like the
shadow of a bird crossing the sun,
the brittle last wafer of soap, the morning's crescent moon,
the match's first sharp instant, its small smell bright as mustard.