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The Literary Groong - 04/16/2011

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	By Jenny Kiljian

	Doesn't notice when I walk into the room.
	She's focusing her scrutiny on the lab technician.
	(He's taking pictures of her, she'll tell me later,
	and this, to her, is suspicious.)
	He says "You have a visitor."
	She talks to him, in Armenian.
	"This is my daughter's daughter."

	Looking into her eyes, squinting and unsmiling,
	I feel as though I've betrayed her.
	We've all betrayed her.
	She's helpless here.
	At her house, she's the boss.
	The maker of sarma, dolma, kufte, and yogurt.
	The one who cleans, dusts, and washes dishes.
	And, laying in her hospital bed
	Address: Room 504, Tarzana Regional Medical Center,
	My grandma tells me
	there is a cake in the cabinet,
	that I should eat if I'm hungry.

	She asks me what day it is.
	I say the 12th.
	Of June, she asks.
	No, grandma, of July.
	How quickly the months pass, she says.
	Next month is "thing's" engagement.
	Caroline, I suggest. She agrees.
	Five minutes later, she tells me
	"Darosuh kezee." May the next lot be yours.
	She has called me Caroline.

	For so long, she has preserved her dignity,
	her purity, even as the conceiver of eight children.
	Now, there is a male orderly to clean after her,
	to change her gown.
	As I hold her hands, to brace her on her side,
	she beseeches, "Don't let him see me from the front."

	In a few days, you'll forget all of this, Uncle Sarkis tells her.
	He quizzes her memory. What day is it today, Mom?
	"Yergooshapti." Monday.
	What day was it yesterday?
	She hesitates. "Geeragi." Sunday.
	What day is it tomorrow?
	"Zeebeeleen oruh."
	The day for the garbage pick-up.

	July 12, 2004

Jenny Kiljian is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. She received a
degree in English from UCLA, and completed her graduate work at the
USC Annenberg School for Journalism. She is a former editor of The
Armenian Weekly, and is currently the copy editor of Yerevan Magazine.

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