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THESE ARE SOME OF THEIR CUSTOMS By Armine Iknadossian Eat boiled wheat and pomegranate seeds to celebrate new teeth. This is only the beginning; not Genesis beginning but the start of the absurd list. Announce `sweet bath water' to a newly bathed person, and they must give you their clean cheek to kiss. This is lucky and good. This makes God happy. Read your fortune in the dark maps left behind in coffee cups and believe it, but don't bet on it; what you see is what you get. Name your daughter or son Revenge. This is not a metaphor. This means they are strong and will be respected by their children. Throw a raw egg at the tire of a brand new car but don't wash it off for that will cause a tragic accident; it happened to my uncle. Repeat `God willing, God willing, God willing.' He's listening you know, and there are too many evil eyes so don't chance it. Believe in the omen of itchy palms that bring money. This is not a rash but an invitation by God to meet him in Las Vegas. Blue glass eyes ward off evil so hang one from your rearview mirror and pin it on a newborn baby. A cracked mirror is good luck. So is dropping a ceramic dish on the floor or breaking a wine glass. And when you spot a new moon, laugh out loud. That's God smiling at you, and it would be rude to not smile back. -- Armine Iknadossian was born in Beirut, Lebanon and raised in Pasadena, California. She received her BA from UCLA and an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. She has just completed her first manuscript, Gnosis. Publications include Pasadena City College's Inscape, UCLA's Wisteria, Cal State Northridge's Edges, Lounge Lit: An Anthology of Poetry and Fiction by the Writers of Literati Cocktail and Rhapsodomancy and zaum. "The Return" was a finalist in Backwards City Review's annual poetry contest.