The butcher removed the stray bullets
from the belly of the hanging pork.
He even sold ribs cracked by shrapnel.
The refrigerator didn’t work.
The pharmacists bought the maggot
infested rib eye, and the blind
dog chewed on the discarded wattles
of the chicken. The priest cleared
his throat when he walked
through the back door. He stepped
over the carcass of the defrosted sheep.
He dipped his finger in a plastic
container full of liver bits and drew
a bloody cross on the drawer
of the cash register. The butcher smashed
a fly with the flat of the cleaver.
Shahé Mankerian’s manuscript, History of Forgetfulness, has been a finalist at four prestigious competitions: the 2013 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition, the Bibby First Book Competition, the Quercus Review Press (Fall Poetry Book Award), and the 2014 White Pine Press Poetry Prize. Shahé serves as the principal of St. Gregory Hovsepian School in Pasadena and the co-director of the Los Angeles Writing Project. As an educator, he has been honored with the Los Angeles Music Center’s BRAVO Award, which recognizes teachers for innovation and excellence in arts education.