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My mother sliced the cucumbers on a plate
and sprinkled them with salt and lemon juice.
A dragon inked in blue, fat as a goose,
shone through their pale translucent flesh. We ate
the puckering slices, my brother and I, then dared
each other to drain the juice. I wasn’t scared.
The jellied seeds quivered like dragon spawn.
Glazed with acid yellow, their mother glared
and I glared back, startled by my own
eyes on the plate. And then it was as though
when I tipped up the dish and sucked the brew,
the thick spawn burned my throat all the way through
and, hatching there, made my whole body shudder.
I grabbed the knife and pointed at my father.
Armen Davoudian’s poems and translations appear in AGNI, The Sewanee Review, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Swan Song, won the 2020 Frost Place Chapbook Competition.