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IN AN ANCIENT LAND By William Michaelian Somewhere, long ago, in an ancient, rocky land, there was an old man warming himself by a fire. He was alone. The world he knew had died - his world: the people he loved, gone, the children playing in his village, gone, the village itself, gone. Only the sun remained, and the wind and moon and sea, and the rocky ground that led down to the sea. His only companion was his fire. He ate his olives and his cheese, but the ritual brought no comfort. He sang, but no one heard. He waited, dreamed, remembered, wondered, mourned, beseeched, and then he began again, and again and again began, until at last he decided he must be a ghost, a spirit granted no rest and fated to suffer. The old man wept, and as he wept, the centuries settled like dust around him, quietly hiding his pain. Then, from a great distance, he heard a voice: it belonged to a child, and the child was saying Papa, come home. Startled by the sound, the old man looked up into the eyes of his grandchildren, a boy and a girl not yet ten years old. Come on, Papa. Come on: they took him by the hand. A kiss, a kiss. And the ancient land was young again, the fire, burning on. -- Several of William Michaelian's poems and short stories have appeared in Ararat. Many have also been translated into Armenian, and have been published in Yerevan in Garun, Grakan Tert, Aghpyur, and Artasamanyan Grakanutyun. The author maintains an extensive website at http://www.williammichaelian.com/