Sunday, December 05, 2021


Click here for an audio clip of the poem. 

Zevart, before you decide to go

anywhere, let me construct a ship of books,

sailable & plenty, free of disease & car rides,

a ship anchored to everything & nothing,

Zevart of my birth, a name I will not

simplify for them. Let them say it.

Zevart. Zevart of rose petal jam & calluses,

your mother, a desert walk, her mother

hovering above sheep’s brain stew,

Zevart. Zevart. All I have left

of my first blurred sight. All that’s

left of my own name, its song —

leave now & I won’t find the impossible

argument of daybreak. Depart if you want,

but the phone will keep ringing.

Voice of Zevart. Body of Zevart.

Bathing Zevart. The weight of your body

on my arm, as if holding a country.

May you never read this, never learn

what I’ve done. A tradition never yours

this scrawled before it should be, your name

a drum, the only part I’ll borrow, and so,

Zevart. The rest can stay in their glass

cases. Remember how our folktales began?

Gar oo chee gar. Once there was and was not

a life we knew full of produce & price

tags, tell me again before you go there,

how you & one brother took James Dean

to be a god. Aleppo tired of you.

Your mother never done in the kitchen.

What is it now that I’m doing?

Did I actually think this would preserve you?

How can I close this, when a train could take you

through a tunnel, a bag of dates & walnuts

on your lap, sudden darkness while you chew,

snickering at what you were never taught.

What did I promise? Oh, yes. This.

Zevart. Zevart. Zevart.

Lory Bedikian
Published in Adroit Journal

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