by Krikor N. Der Hohannesian
Some things are indelible,
like India ink, not just on paper
but on the parchment of the soul.
If you are one of the fortunate
the imprint is early etched. I sat
beside him, his well-scarred desk,
the green-shaded lamp, watched him
dip the nib into the black well,
scratch out his Baikar editorials,
his poems, his short stories
in Mesrob Mashtots’ script —
letters of the Armenian alphabet,
exotic, ancient, cryptic. Mashtots,
ascetic Armenian monk, his life’s work
to translate the Bible into the tongue
of his people after a vision, it was said,
where the hand of God revealed the alphabet,
the written word birthed in letters of fire.
Spell my name, hairig, I asked, and with
a flourish of a conductor’s baton he
dipped the pen. Spell “love,” grandpa,
I want to see what it looks like. He smiled
with his eyes, tousled my thick, black hair —
janig (dear one), he whispered.
Copyright © 2019 by Krikor N Der Hohannesian.