Mary Avakian Freericks and her brothers aboard ship on their way to America

2017 will our flag still wave liberty?

1946 our family left the land

of the Persian Shah

and his peacock throne.

Mama’s warning,

“Be quiet. Don’t tell.

Don’t open your mouth.”

My index finger held

In front of tight lips.

The November storm subsided

Our three weeks crossing the Atlantic

on the S.S. Minot Victory ended.

We reached the shores, reached

Boston Harbor. In the foggy rain

my finger slipped down.

My mouth opened

taking in the air of freedom!

Feet stepped on solid ground

As the inspector searched

My brother’s violin case

Was he looking for a knife or gun?

Found nothing but a bow violin and resin.

He let us go into our uncles’ arms, Alexan,

Vaghinak, and Vaghoush hugged us.

Welcomed us to this free land, America!

Harry Truman our President

no more Shah Hen Shah.

Our Armenian-American uncles

drove us in the fog to a diner.

We drank milk and ate apple pie.

As we laughed. “You are American now.”

No chador to hide behind

I would become a citizen

in this democracy, a young girl

turn into a free woman!


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