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The Literary Groong - 04/15/2006

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	by Diana Der-Hovanessian

	What if all the poets were rounded up and killed?
	What if all the priests were executed?
	What if all the men in the country were drafted and then
	shot in front of ditches they themselves had dug?
	What if the government said; In two days
	you must leave your home and belongings
	taking only enough for two days on the road?
	What if all the pretty girls were raped?
	What if small children were taken
	by families who wanted slaves
	or pets?
	 What if everyone in your family
	was pushed into the Euphrates?
	What if you alone with an older girl
	made it to Baku?
	What if in Baku you met compatriots
	who had been there for centuries 
	and there you grew?
	What if you lived until old age
	with your children and then again
	ten years ago men came
	and burned your home again?
	What if you were forced again to leave?
	What if you reached other Armenians
	in Karabagh?
	What if they were being bombed and maimed
	and blockaded?
	What if you were past ninety and
	everything that had happened to you 
	was happening again and 
	again the world did not believe you ?
	What if it were you and not me?

Diana Der Hovanessian is a Fulbright professor of American literature
at Yerevan State University in 1994 and 1999, she is author of 17
books and has published in American Scholar, Poetry, Harvard Review,
Nation, Paris Review, New Republic, and her poetry is regularly
published in the Christian Science Monitor. She has awards from the
Columbia Translation Center, P.E.N., Writers Union of America, and the
Writers Union of Armenia.

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