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EPITAPH by Helene Pilibosian In memory of my mother, who was one of the orphans at Ghazir The battle was within and without kinder minds caught in the World War I frame. Ideals seem to have been lost along the stony path of fate children tread in that museum of orphans in Armenian, in Greek, and in Assyrian. Traveling from Switzerland, Dr. Kuntsler read beyond the vagaries of violence, beyond the ripping of pregnant bellies, the starved desert marching, the celebrating guns that wore the Ottoman seal. No one was left to the innocence of towns. Parents were mowed down like grass, while children who were lucky were kidnapped and enslaved. What herbs grew in the garden of semi-haze and dew could not nourish anymore. Parents were few. The exodus bore dry mouth and hunger for food and sympathetic touch. Dr. Kuntsler took the orphans out by caravan of donkeys and horses. Oral history trailed like a vagrant goat existing on wild shrubs. As nothing had been wasted in the villages, no one remained to investigate the usages, the importance of life become a scrap of bread. The Turkish will said, the orphans reached their trades: rug weaving and carpentry, tailoring and business. America and Europe had the necessary skills and Arab countries opened their doors. The end of what was begun serves as an epitaph of a kind. -- This poem is the twin of the poem "Grandparent Herbs" in History's Twists: The Armenians, a new book of poems by Helene Pilibosian. She has also published Carvings from an Heirloom: Oral History Poems, the award-winning At Quarter Past Reality: New and Selected Poems as well as co-written and edited They Called Me Mustafa, her father's story. She is the owner of Ohan Press at http://home.comcast.net/~hsarkiss. Her e-mail is email@example.com.