Autumn in Artsakh

Azerbaijani military fires cluster missiles from a BM-30 Smerch multiple rocket launcher at the Karmir Shuka, or “Red Market,” village in Martuni (Photo: Armenian Unified Infocenter, October 16, 2020)

are you well rested? a celestial commotion is well underway.
body forth your autumnal awe, gentle and moving to and fro
the changing seasons, the burying of red flesh, fallen prey,
oceans away. and yes. you must have heard. it is time
for the sinking away of the bright summer starlet, along
with its staggering heat- its melting away taking over
the October heavens in a seasonal minute. how pretty
the sky looks. prepare to warm the kettle onto the stove
and stare into the dance of its emanated warmth as
you rub your cool hands together, harnessing
the vestige of incoming deep sleep, rain pattering
as sweet song. the inner linings of your stomach caressed
by herbal infusions of cinnamon and gingery sting. off you go
with your pumpkin pies and sunset rides. knowing,
down deep, that within your awaiting pillow lay gentle dreams.
know, too. within theirs lay thoughts of a fated parting from this life.
from their yet threatened families. how sharp this irony stands
on the tongue. within their throats, gunpowder sticks like cement.
think of them as you brush your hair and hold
a lover’s present hand. protected from genocidal harm.
what a privilege it must be. and may you always savour it.
but i beg you. you. you. you. to not again forget the words
that must be said. the prayers that must be cast. there are
mothers and fathers and grandparents and children without
the liberty of smooth sleep. now. and for over a century.
one can only imagine. the privilege
of uninterrupted sleep. no nightmares of the hanging
and slitting of throats. of the raping of wives and mothers.
the dismembering of brothers and sisters and daughters and sons.
right there. there. there. the bloodshed
of over a million compatriots. the remembrance
boiling in our surviving bones. you see. to sleep means to dream.
and my people’s dreams are heavy. heavy. heavy with the possibility
of banishing, melting into the blood-wet sod without saying goodbye.
without being lived on to be told as tales on the breakfast table
during a normal lifetime. how sickening. to think
of the incessance of such ancestral genocide yet ongoing. and fierce.
there is so much life to be celebrated. so much song
to dance to. so much earth to love on. yet. it is everything
that is ours that they spend their eternities lusting over.
murdering for. what a waste of such precious earthly existence. 

it is autumn in Artsakh, too. you must have heard.
the ground there overflows with
so many fallen leaves. 

Author’s note: This piece was weaved with the hope to awaken the world that chooses to be silent while Armenians are at risk of yet another genocide.

Perla Kantarjian

Perla Kantarjian

Perla Kantarjian is a writer, journalist and editor from Beirut whose written works have appeared on many online platforms including Annahar Newspaper, Bookstr, Rebelle Society and Elephant Journal.
Perla Kantarjian

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