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The Burial Note Secured on Mama’s Lapel with a Safety Pin

by Shahe Mankerian

To Whom It May Concern: Mama craves
people like the Pope craves the window
with a microphone. She knows two tame

jokes: one about a priest stuck in an elevator
with a nun and another about a snake drowning
in a jacuzzi with a Turk. If offered Armenian coffee,

she’ll repay your kindness with poetry. Help her
to stand on a chair, light her cigarette, and wait.
Neither dementia nor her loose dentures

will get in the way of her recitations:
A man climbs Mt. Ararat in search of the ark
but discovers a lonely sparrow buried in the snow.

Photo Courtesy of Steve Double
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