To Be Willing Is Only Half the Job: An Armenian Proverb
My first husband had to leave and leave for hundreds of years. When I think of leaving now, I know there should be no more departures. Yet it is all departures. I learned to make Armenian ceramics in the style of your grandfather who fled to Jerusalem from Turkey to re-tile the Dome of the Rock. You, first husband, loved that I would carry on some form of the tradition. You loved that like your mother, I am a teacher and poet. I loved that you saved me from bounced checks and that you debated politics by my side. Mostly I loved the occasional glimpse of ardor behind your haunted eyes. Together, we collected Islamic pottery, Buddhas, Mexican and Balinese furniture. We raised a child not from my womb, but from the tumult and beauty of the world’s. Together, we still love this child fiercely. We are the sum and total of our years together. Our night’s apart. Our suns and moons setting in different hours, seeking touch in dreams.
“Watch a movie?” “Too tired.” “Travel?” “Mortgage.”
“Bush is a bastard, the human race is a plague, and there is no God.”
“Yes. Yes. Maybe.”
On the cliff of Copper Canyon, the sun was scorching. We smelled sage, perfumed sand, and heard ancient whisperings. For the first time we made animal love. Below us the canyon echoed beyond different futures, the crush of love lost and ancient sorrow. I know there should be no more departures. And yet, first husband, ghost companion, father and son, we depart. It is all departures.
Julie Bolt is a writer, educator, and an advocate/activist. She writes poetry, short stories and scholarly essays. Her book is Pedagogy for Democratic Practice. Her poetry has appeared in The Raven’s Perch, Shot Glass Journal, The Red River Review, Slow Trains, New Verse News, Home Planet News, Celestal, Mutha, the punk online journal Zygote in My Coffee and Writing in a Woman’s Voice, amongst other online and print publications. Julie is an Associate Professor of English at Bronx Community College of the City University of New York.
A Song for Julie