Shahé Mankerian

Winner of the Editor’s Prize

As selected by Arisa White


The remaining window in the living room rattled
the first time Father played Beethoven’s Ninth.

In Beirut, bombs shattered glass panels, and fathers
taped plastic sheets on every splintered pane.

I didn’t hear the guttural bang of the timpani.
Clashing cymbals didn’t symbolize the fiery

arrows of Ares. Low flying jets coined that claim.
I didn’t care for the bombastic choir; they drowned

the rat-a-tat-tat of M16s. I sifted through the noise
like a deaf beggar sifting through trash

and discovering fleshy pomegranate. That’s how
I discovered the French horns, so lonely and lost,

buried deep in Beethoven’s Ninth.


Shahé Mankerian is the principal of St. Gregory Hovsepian School in Pasadena and the co-director of the L.A. Writing Project. He is the recipient of the Los Angeles Music Center’s BRAVO Award which recognizes teachers for innovation in arts education. In 2016, Mankerian’s poem was a finalist at the Gotham Writers 91-Word Memoir Contest, and the Altadena Poetry Review nominated him for the Pushcart Prize. His manuscript, History of Forgetfulness, has been a finalist at the Crab Orchard Poetry Open Competition, the Bibby First Book Competition, the Quercus Review Press Poetry Book Award, and the White Pine Press Poetry Prize.