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Was there enough time to know the wreckage
that I soon would be facing? There were swifts,
skylarks, over Republic Square. Savage
small things. I would sit at a cafe, the gifts
from home—letters—spread out on the table
before me, drinking surch and garejur.
Find me a story teller or fable
maker, someone who doesn’t need liqueur
to help forget. Is it wreckage’s fate
to be wreckage? Savage words and bright birds
and I still have nightmares—all in a row.
But still … to have time to sit, watch and wait.
That’s a gift. To have time to write down words
of our fall; to have time enough to know.



The Republic Square, or Hanrapetu’tyan Hraparak (Հանրապետության հրապարակ) as it is called in Armenian, is the large central square in the heart of Yerevan. It is intersected by Abovyan, Nalbandyan, Vazgen Sargsyan and Amiryan streets as well as Tigran Mets avenue. During my summer training (1995) in Peace Corps I would sit at a little cafe outside the National Gallery and History Museum, drinking coffee, surch (սուրճ) and beer, garejur (գարեջուր) and watching the skylarks circle in the sky far over head. I liked that particular cafe partly because it was fun to people watch (everyone passes through the square at some point) but also because the layout of the square gives anyone sitting at the cafe an obscured view of Mt. Ararat, which is always a nice thing.