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The Literary Groong - 06/30/2007

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                      BREAK IN

              by Diana Der-Hovanessian

     Sawdust, a stream of litter on the floor,
    the door inside the outside door ajar,
   the contents of each dining room drawer
   emptied, strewn as if a giant had poured
     out everything.  I ran screaming to call
   911, surveying the chaos inside
   the bedroom, the lingerie a tide
   of silk and nylon flowing to the hall.
     "Table silver, all jewelry, an old photo
    of my father at four in a village dress,
    the only thing his mother saved, pressed
    on the inside of a brooch, and old cameo,
      my mother's, my great aunt's rings."
    Police ask for listings of such things.


     I gave them the inventory, everything
   I could recall, my former husband's war
   medals, his silver officer's bars,
   my child's first tooth, pearls, my wedding ring.
    The detective asked if I'd been robbed before.
  I thought of jewels buried in the ground
  as Armenian families fled the sound
  of shooting, Turks breaking in each door,
    my grandmother's gems down to one cameo
  sent to America with her older son,
  two million relatives lost as one,
  art, architecture, poems I'd never know,
    everything except a picture in a cameo.
  Answered what he wanted, "No."

by Diana Der-Hovanessian in American Scholar, reprinted with permission.

Diana Der-Hovanessian is an American born poet, author of 23 books
of poetry and translations.  She was a Fulbright scholar teaching
American poetry in Yerevan in l994 and l999.

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