We drove Avo’s mother to the cemetery
four days after he was buried. The steady
rain curtained the gravestones that morning.
When we finally found the mound,
Avo’s mother released a heart wrenching
wail and fell on her knees. Mud splattered
on our shoes and on the makeshift cross.
She pleaded for her son to come out;
we waited not knowing what to do.
No one expected a hand to reach out
of the soil and console the weeping mother.
But we all stared at the mud patiently,
hoping to hear Avo’s voice or another sign of life.
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.