I listen to Nina Simone on rainy days,
drowning my blues
in hers like my mother
used to do.
Photos of people I’ve never known, a shawl
from her wedding day,
Family heirlooms left in my care.
I once saw an orphan
at a café in Yerevan who reached out
to steal cake from a woman distracted
by her infant.
As his hand hovered over the dainty luxury
he questioned which he wanted more.
When I kiss the back
of God’s hand while avoiding his eyes,
I pray for the weakness to be merciful
or the strength to seek an eye
for an eye –
never really sure which one
I want more