Sunday, May 31, 2020


On your birthday, find a restaurant that serves
orange chicken over basmati rice. Of course,

the fried vermicelli noodles must be the color
of angel locks. If you desire naan on the side,

you must also request a bowl of roasted egg-
plants with the charred skin intact. Be gentle

when you drizzle the pomegranate syrup; later
you’ll whine about the lie bumps on your tongue.

The busboy is not a poet; don’t make him recite
Gibran by heart. The misprint in the menu

claims the coffee they serve is Turkish. Mama,
remember to complain. Even God can be misled.

This poem appeared in Ghost City Press.

Shahé Mankerian is the principal of St. Gregory Hovsepian School and the poetry co-director of Rockvale Review. His manuscript, History of Forgetfulness, has been a finalist at the Bibby First Book Competition, the Crab Orchard Poetry Open Competition, the Quercus Review Press Poetry Book Award, and the White Pine Press Prize. Online publications, Border Crossing and Cahoodaloodaling, have nominated Shahé’s poems for the 2018 Best of the Net. Visible Poetry Project’s animation of Mankerian’s poem, “The Last Mosque,” premiered at the 2018 New York Poetry Festival. He received the 2017 Editors’ Prize from MARY: A Journal of New Writing.

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