When I was a young boy in Newton, Massachusetts,
My neighbors on one side were an elderly Armenian couple.
Harry Adalian and his wife, Lucy, spent their early lives in Turkiye.
One of his stories, reaching to his left ear,
Was how a Turkish soldier had swung his sword
And sliced off the edge of his ear--
I did not know then, but he had been a part of the Armenian Genocide.
Harry came often to visit, 'consulting' on various family projects,
Like when we dug our little fish/turtle pond--
A summer project for me and my younger brother, John,
Which we dug in two days!
Harry suggested to my father that it should be named "The Little Sip",
Contrasting to an ocean, "The Big Drink".
At any rate, I was later told that Harry was dying,
And I was asked to come visit to say goodbye.
We talked together--I was precocious and had many adult friends.
Harry then pointed to a long, spiralling tusk in the corner.
He said it was a narwhal tusk, brought back by Admiral Byrd
And had been presented to Mayor Curley of Boston,
Who then passed it on to Harry, a prominent local rug dealer.
Harry then said, "I want to give this to you,
Since you are a budding young naturalist,"
The tusk travelled with me as a prize and loved possession
Around the world from MA to OH to NY to Turkey to Africa to Sweden,
And then returned to California, where it stayed.
One day on my farm in Davis, California,
I walked by my door, where the tusk always stood
And it was gone--my heart literally sank.
I was then much older--80--and this was to be passed on to my two sons.
I had invited only two or so people to come into my house,
As I had been ill for a while,
So its disappearance was mysterious, but suspicious.
I had not realized how much I had cared for that tusk;
Its beauty, its history with dear Harry, and indeed,
Its very own history, coming from so far away.
I wait for its return--perhaps its new owner will grow tired
And realize it truly belongs to its rightful owner.
I have a few years, perhaps, to wait and anticipate its return.
Frank Maurer 8 November 2023
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