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LIKE THE MOUNTAIN FLOWER by Knarik O. Meneshian She treads softly on the parched earth. He steps stoically on the rocky soil. The river Arax shimmers in the distance And age-old mountains called Zangezur stand watching. The couple passes the wishing tree Where strips of fabric hang, But they wish for nothing anymore And brush past tattered bits of dreams and faded shades of hope, Murmuring, "Wishes do not come true." Down in the orchard Where fruit trees drink Murky water - Runoff from the mine - And piles of debris decay Near butterflies, shanties, and tumbleweed, Large, sugary pomegranates - crimson and yellow - lie on the ground Spilling liquid ruby and gold. On the hillside, Lush grapevines hang full and heavy - waiting, Finally offering the earth their grapes, raisins, and wine. "What use is our labor?" the two of them ask the wind As they pass by. Feeling the earth at their feet And the wind at their back, They inhale the sweetness of their birthplace, They recall the prophecies Of the ancient plane tree - the sosee - Still rustling in the wind As they walk away Down the dusty, winding road, Whispering, "If only wishes could come true!" Glancing back one more time At the mountains and the river, At the fields, the trees, and home - All spread before them Like fine crystal and china On a silk, embroidered tablecloth, Something stirs in them - And like the mountain flower They remain. -- Knarik O. Meneshian is a writer and lives with her family in Glenview, Illinois.