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The Literary Groong - 12/15/2007

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	By Knarik O. Meneshian

	Lala is little,
	Not because she is a child,
	She never finished growing.
	Forever her mother's `baby,'
	Her father's `if only.'

	She spends her days
	In the toneer room
	Where once a week
	Her mother bakes bread,
	Thin, round, flat bread--lavash--
	The first piece always
	For the Lord.

	Lala looks on
	As her mother bakes.
	She utters sounds
	Only The Lord and her mother understand.
	And her mother nods, giving her lavash--
	The second piece always
	For Lala.

	With mangled fingers
	Lala holds the bread and takes a bite.
	Stooped and wobbling,
	She gurgles and grins.
	She crawls,
	Then steps to the window,
	Mangled feet
	Barely holding her up.
	`Ahhh, ahhh!' she sings as she sits on the floor and claps.
	"Uh, uh!" she says as she rocks and points
	At birds flying past the window.
	Lala's mother looks at her `baby' of thirty eight
	And sighs.

	Outside, cows and sheep
	Lumber down the road
	Trailing dust behind them.
	Returning from their grazing grounds,
	Each knows its "home."
	Chickens peck in the dirt,
	Roosters crow,
	Dogs bark, scampering past dung bricks
	Piled high against the sides of houses,
	Smoke rising from the chimneys.
	Children play near clotheslines
	Heavy with laundry still flapping in the wind.
	And old dadeeks spinning wool into yarn
	Finally put down their eeleeks.
	The day is coming to an end.
	But tomorrow, another new day
	Wrapped always in the old ways here,
	Will come.

	And the mother will walk at dawn
	Down the winding dirt road
	To labor in the fields till dusk,
	While Lala sits
	Cross-legged on a mat
	On the concrete floor
	Next to the covered toneer
	In the toneer room near the house.

	Locked for safety there
	With water, bread, and fruit
	Lala will look at the ceiling and walls,
	At the window,
	At cherry pits strewn in the corner,
	And wait for evening,
	For her mother to come
	And take her to the house.

	It is night.
	Lala is washed
	And changed and fed by her mother
	Just as gently as the day she was born.
	She is helped into bed, the nicest in the house,
	And covered with a blanket, the best in the house.
	Lala coos and waves her arms in the air.
	Her mother nods,
	And with callused hands
	Softly strokes her daughter's cheeks again.
	Lala coos.
	Her mother weeps.

	June 2007

Knarik O. Meneshian was born in Austria. Her father was Armenian from
Armenia and her mother was Austrian from Austria. She is a writer and
teacher. She is married and lives in Glenview, Illinois, with her
family.  In 1991, Knarik taught English in the earthquake devastated
village of Jrashen (Spitak Region), Armenia. In 2002-2003, she and her
husband lived and worked as volunteers in Armenia for a year teaching
English and Computers in Gyumri and Tsaghgadzor.

Knarik's works have been published in Teachers As Writers, American
Poetry Anthology and other American publications.  Her various poems,
stories, and articles have been published in The Armenian Weekly,
Mirror Spectator, Asbarez, The Reporter, Hai Sird, Armenian Review,
and Ararat.  Her works have also appeared in the literary magazines
Kroonk and Garoon published in Armenia, and on the Armenian sites
Groong, Literary Groong, and Hetq.  She has authored a book of poems
titled Reflections, and translated from Armenian to English Reverend
D. Antreassian's book titled The Banishment of Zeitoun and Suedia's

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