Armenian Christmas

(Dear EVERYONE If you haven’t looked at Matthew’s and my Chanukah postcards, they are
on the ON BEING blog EVERY DAY for a few more days. A Chanukah Miracle)

For eighty five years
Peter’s family meets once a year
in someone’s home a different someone
to see one another
and celebrate Christmas.
Children and grandchildren
of the Turkish genocide they are
his mother Arshalous’s family.

The first time I went thirty two years ago
it was at his Cousin Gracie’s.
I’d never been to a party like theirs.
Shouting and laughing and eating
and dancing for hours. The first year I actually
didn’t say a word. But I ate.

This year we left early and drove
with Noah and Chesray
to Alexandria Virginia
home of Victoria, David
and their two children.
Victoria has always been
one of my favorites
even though she is a Republican.
I think she’s a Republican
because of the South and maybe her family
I’ve never understood why anyone
would be a Republican. About half
of Peter’s family are Republicans.

She married an identical triplet
a literary triplet who writes poems.
Peter’s family is warm and unexpectedly
loud and generous. Everyone cooks.
Everyone eats. We all have a good time.
Many relatives have endured
unspeakable tragedies. When they talk
about the past they talk about Brooklyn
not Turkey. They don’t say too much
about their lives.

The older I get the more I try to understand
what connection actually means
how we all come to be connected
what our responsibilities
are to each another if we can broaden
our idea of what family means
if some differences matter
more than others if being a good person
is the same as wanting a just life.

Esther Cohen
Let me tell you why I'm here, and why I hope you'll join me. I am here to poem, to play with words, to tell stories when I can, and to ask you for yours. Words are what I love, how I see, and what I say. Words are how I know my life, and how I find my friends. I'm here to ask you to join me. Right here. To send me your stories, and your poems. And to read mine when you can.

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