Monday, April 30, 2007


for Mesrop Mashtots- inventor of the Armenian alphabet


It is not simple mathematics
and symbols, not just
characters on a page. Language
is an almanac.

My alphabet is a crew of dolphins,
a verdict of slanted joshua trees
in transmission,
in ocular mistrust of neighbor,
from the bellies of which spark sharp green fragments
and cadaverous song.

My alphabet is a tank of definitions
foliating like apricot leaves.
It haunts the hinting of its crescents,
the spaces that ellipse themselves
to ceiling of planetarium
to the nebulous of memory,
brazened photographs’ tapestry.

My grandfather taught me how to swim
with onions on his tongue.

I pried the index of his fingers free
to inked palms and shells of thumbs.

I was bent inside my mother
until they cut her open.

Someone told me four blind mice
lay down in somersaults across my name.

They each had a story to tell
about my mutation.

Copyright Alan Semerdjian
Used here by kind permission of the author

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