The Shop Boy

“What’s your ethnicity?”- the dreaded question.  DSCN1042

“Guess,” I say.

He smiles shyly from behind the metals

and says “Somewhere in Asia.”

I smile broad and then I chuckle,

he reddens but laughs along.


My mother is from Iran.

My father from Mexico.

I speak Assyrian-IMG_0885

a language from long ago.


He asks, “So are you a Muslim?”

and boy’ve I got a story to tell.


“My mother is a Catholic,

My father of Jehovah.


I’ve got a long lost grandmother,

a Muslim I was told.

Great Grandma celebrated

the Armenian traditions.

Great Grandpa, was a Communist

of the Orthodox religion.

So between  the Catholic and the Muslim,

I’m sure that somewhere there’s a Jew.”


DSCN1129“There always is,” the shop boy says.

Then sobers n’ says real slow

“So in a way,

with your mix,

your just like Sarajevo.”


Thank you to the shop boy

who engraved my metalwares,

because now I know

I’ve got in me

a likeness to Sarajevo.

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