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On my thirteenth summer Astghik found me.
The cave had become foul. Scraps of blue bear
and dove, dropped, half chewed. She took me, dirty
half-cub, down into the sunlit fields where
I learned all the stories of her silent
mother’s people. There were The Beginnings:
the names of the Goddess and her descent
to the Underworld. There were The Meanings:
all Her trees. All the nameable creatures
and all that was not. I grew. During this
Astghik fed me on goat milk, her nightdress
hanging loose. Caress. Soon my new mother’s
foundling could not wait for each new smell, kiss,
touch. Soon all I wanted was her caress.