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Maybe my problem (I stop, think about
that and laugh. Then) is English. In Paris,

perhaps, I might find a teacher without
students, a great grandchild of the rootless

tribe that escaped Der-ez-Zor. Holocaust
angel, I’ve seen photos of you holy

in a torn sack dress. I’ve seen your bones, frost
white, dug up across Erzurum, Ani,

Van. Teach me French, teacher, then the ancient
tongue. The one that I wish to know. I wait,

I wait, I wait. In English there are none
who will speak. I don’t want to be silent

like a photograph. I wish to translate
this whole dark world into Armenian.



Let’s call this an obsession. The whole problem with wanting to learn a language that no one who lives near you speaks is that it is very hard to find a tutor. There use to be an Armenian community in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but not any more. I know this because in the city’s museum there is a display of a store run by an Armenian shop-keeper. But whoever they were and wherever they went to I do not know. One day I will meet an Armenian-speaker who will love poetry as much as I do and help me translate all the dark poems of my heart into the language I want to love but can’t speak. One day …