it’s been raining
all day.

The car is packed and everything
is being said inside;
between fat fingers
pinching cheeks,
Uncle Gourken offers
quick tips
for the first night,
while balancing on
a thin wire of Raki.
Wrinkling cigar-faces
with inside information
anoint America with a garlic atmosphere.
A blur of nervous tongues chant
a liturgy of survival
under breaths of broken English.
The liquid voice of the Oud
tempers each lifted foot in unison.
Hagop and Aram shout politics
over a table of Meza;
Aunt Sarah grunts
from her 4 foot frame: “You’re married now,
believe me, it ain’t
no bed of roses.
Look at me, 40 years
and not a complaint!”

Congratulations tiptoe like the deaf
in a crowded room. Memorizing
words and faces in a swirling weather
of music, fingers rise above heads,
clicking like ball bearings, with sadness and tradition.

But now the hour is midnight,
and when I turn around
the room quiets in a distance of festivity,
a recipe of generations
dancing to ancient tunes in modern times.