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THE CHRISTMAS TREE By Zahrad Translated from Armenian by Diana Der Hovanession To prepare a Christmas tree you need two things. First the tree itself and then the ornaments. To decorate a Christmas tree you need tree things. Beside the tree and the ornaments, you need hope for a string of good days about to begin. Actually to decorate a Christmas tree you need only one thing: eyes to change tinsel to diamonds. To decorate your tree then, take my wishes for the New Year: wishes for more illusions. -- Diana Der Hovanessian is a Fulbright professor of American literature at Yerevan State University in 1994 and 1999, she is author of 17 books and has published in American Scholar, Poetry, Harvard Review, Nation, Paris Review, New Republic, and her poetry is regularly published in the Christian Science Monitor. She has awards from the Columbia Translation Center, P.E.N., Writers Union of America, and the Writers Union of Armenia.