Speaking of Love

Mama, ty menya lyubish?
Do you love me?
I used to ask my mother
In Russian
As if this were a thing to be explored
In the cerebrally acquired of our two tongues 
I hadn’t yet discovered English 
In which speaking of love is so effortless 
That all the talk has made love trite
Armenian is a language of ancient truths
Not petty inquiries and inquisitions  
My mother tongue allows no room
For questioning a mother about love 
And of such trivial nature 
A mother doesn’t tell her child
I love you, in Armenian
She simply does
Ty menya lyubish, mama?
Do you love me?

It must have been a need left unfulfilled in a previous life
This thing that birthed this question
Over and over
Until I grew too old to accept the tired answer

You are the greatest love of my life
I would tell my son
Who, me?
I will always love you
Who, me?
I will never leave you 
Who, me?
My son would ask
Over and over again
For years
As if it weren’t conceivable  
This love I gave him
This thing I claimed we were
A family 
Who, me?
Yes, you
Yes, you
Because our souls found each other across the seas
Always, you

You’ll never know, dear 
How much I love you 
I sing to my daughter
One night when her father is gone
(Because when he is here
It is he who sings her to sleep)
Excuse me, mommy, she says
I’m sorry for interrupting 
I just want to ask you something 
Why does the song say
You’ll never know how much I love you? 
Why would I not know?
It’s weird


But, mama, do you love me?

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