A Yerevan Boy Who Sleeps with a Toy Gun

A little boy in an underground shelter in Artsakh (Photo: Areg Balayan/Government of Armenia/Facebook, October 20, 2020)

(The following poem was inspired by a heart-wrenching letter from a friend in Yerevan who told me of her son’s reaction to the war in Artsakh) 

Three hundred, thirty-nine kilometers away
Azeri bombs murder those who stay
He sleeps with his toy gun.

The news said shelling all around
A small boy crumpled to the ground
He sleeps with his toy gun.

He sees his heroes lying dead
Bullet fragments in their heads
He sleeps with his toy gun.

They flee from bitter enemies
And their brutal, ruthless zealotries
He sleeps with his toy gun.

He wakes from nightmares, fear and dread
Curled securely to his mama in bed
He sleeps with his toy gun.

To God he nightly prays and pleads
His mourning heart throbs and grieves
He sleeps with his toy gun.

Terri Eshilian
Terri Eshilian received her Bachelor of Science and Masters degree in Communicative Disorders from USC. For many years, she served as consultant and diagnostician for local schools. She taught students at San Diego State University as well as community colleges. She authored a children’s book titled “Tell Me about Armenia," which is designed for parents (and grandparents) to read to their children about the proud heritage of Armenians. Terri lives with her husband of 46 years, George Fleming, in San Diego, California. They have two children and four grandchildren.
Terri Eshilian

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