EXILE AND SEDUCTION by Alex Ekmekji First, they take away father. They return the same evening And take away his belongings: His clothes, his shoes, his stories and songs. Mother does not know how to resist the intruders And consoles us with fractured sentences, With words shattered into jagged-edged syllables Like the family photographs hurled Onto the grand mirror in the hall. The tall man wearing the unfamiliar hat Parts the lull of the next afternoon With measured strides. "I am your new father", he says, And as mother prepares dinner He leads us into the hall And guides us down onto our hands and our knees Into the fragments of wood and glass. I collect the broken frames and place the pieces in father's hands, Sister clears the shattered glass and retrieves the photographs, Father reassembles the wooden frames By pushing in the protruding nails with his thumbs And reinserts the pictures, Tucking their edges beneath the lips of the ancient wood, Then from the rubble of yesterday He selects the large pieces of silvered glass And reshapes them with his long and graceful tongue, And presses them over the pictures into the frames, And into the recesses of our minds. -- Alec Ekmekji was born in Aleppo, Syria, and has lived in Los Angeles since 1966. He holds B.S and M.S degrees in Physics, and works in the aerospace industry. His poetry and short stories have appeared in Eghties and Aspora, and in the bilingual anthology of Armenian-American poetry Birthmark. He has also contributed theater and music reviews to the Armenian Observer. Currently, he is translating selected poems of Zareh Melkonian into English.
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