Alan Semerdjian


The family hid inside
the painting,
alongside a series
of lines
posing as rooms
set behind a character
or two, one carrying
heavy brows and tools
to stiffen life:
a book, an embrace
a mask, a vase,
the other, a moustache,
frozen curl
like indecision,
an immigrant in disguise.
From the perspective
of a stool is born
the angle of a mother
wary of the presence
of art. Her time
is measured in color,
the banks of her travel
in form. Someone whispers
a secret in it,
imagines a clothesline
drunk with memory,
robes, passing stranger
ellipsed tone
pouring in blocks
the things she cannot say
to him, the painter,
the father
in his studio
because the fist, because
the amount of sunlight
was never enough.

Alan Semerdjian is an Armenian-American writer/teacher/musician whose writing has appeared in several literary journals including most recently Chain and Lyric Poetry Review (forthcoming), Ararat, Whalelane, canwehaveourballback, and Poetry Midwest. He currently teaches at Herricks High School and in workshops for various audiences in Long Island and New York City, performs regularly in the metropolitan area "in a myriad of musical outfits" including Surreal, Milquetoast and Watercats, is working on a first collection of poetry through the MFA in Creative Writing at Goddard College, and writes The Music Column at


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