The Fox Fur
The silver fox of my childhood
was an old neck-piece belonging
to my aunt. I'm sure it still hangs
in a corner of her kitchen pantry,
lording it over rows of crockery jars
of pungent hot peppers and briny
celery and carrots. Nearby
white ceramic jars of rice and lentils,
jars of golden bulgur. The fox surveys
it all from above. A cat owns
it all from below where it sleeps.
In summer we would climb the nearby
wooden stairs to lie on the flat
roof. The stars would fall close
enough to count in the Near Eastern
city where the lights would dim
in the Armenian quarter with sections
of old names made new: New Adana, New
Marash, New Sis. Where all the old
houses with nut trees, apricot trees,
had pantries of dried fish, fresh fruit.
We would sleep on the roof until
the middle of the night, when
the pantries would call us down
with their yogurt and cheeses.
Now my aunt sends letters asking me
to come home. No need. I am there.
I am there.
* Translated from Armenian by Diana Der-Hovanessian