Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash
Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash

The Between Us

What is it inside their heavings
through time that hesitates?
What makes up the distance
like a track star exploding?
What kind of spelling stretches
across these moonlit hills?
I am halved and halved again;
in whose palm will I be served?
If a lie is a river, where shall we
begin to make the crossing?
Ask the ruins of Garni about
the summer house and the tomb,
the pagan and the knot that binds
our histories like apricot leaves.
What are these answers here,
buried like bones in red sand?
See them, shapeless, lost — too far
inside memory’s warm homes.

Contributor's Note:

"The poem borrows from Whitman’s question in 'Crossing Brooklyn Ferry' ('What is it then between us?') and is a meditation on that which connects the particular injustices suffered by members of my familial ancestry (the Armenian Genocide and its subsequent denial, ghosts, reconciliations, etc.) with injustices throughout history and, especially, today."

Author Bio:

Award-winning writer, musician, and educator Alan Semerdjian’s writing has appeared in several notable print and online publications and anthologies over the years including Adbusters, The Brooklyn Rail, and Diagram. He released a chapbook of poems called An Improvised Device (Lock n Load Press) in 2005 and his first full-length book In the Architecture of Bone (GenPop Books) in 2009, which Pulitzer Prize winner Peter Balakian called “well worth your reading.”