Shahé Mankerian




We pulled the carcass

of Karim’s sheep

from the heap of trash.


We remembered

the wayward shepherd

had lost his tracks


and wandered into

a minefield. We slept

in the underground


garage while night-

time missiles destroyed

the indoor bazaar,


the wheat silos,

the slaughterhouse.

We found the butcher


nailed to the hood

of his car. Hunger pangs

and dripping maggots


from the hanging sheep

kept us awake. Wives

soothed children to sleep


under the broken tractor.

Oil leaked on blankets.

We kept smoking


because no one wanted

to use the rusty pliers

to dismember Karim’s sheep.


SHAHÉ MANKERIAN is the principal of St. Gregory Hovsepian School in Pasadena and the co-director of the L.A. Writing Project. He is the recipient of the Los Angeles Music Center’s BRAVO Award, which recognizes teachers for innovation in arts education. His manuscript, History of Forgetfulness, has been a finalist at the Crab Orchard Poetry Open Competition, the Bibby First Book Competition, the Quercus Review Press Poetry Book Award, and the White Pine Press Poetry Prize. In 2017, three literary journals, Border Crossing, Cahoodaloodaling, and Lunch Ticket nominated Mankerian’s poems for the Pushcart Prize. Antioch University’s literary publication, Lunch Ticket, nominated Mankerian’s poem “Inner City with Father” for the 2017 Best of the Net Anthology. Recently, Shahé received the 2017 Editors’ Prize from MARY: A Journal of New Writing.