I smile to remember.
We went there on the bus,
half way through October.
Leaves yellow, pale lime, red and brown,
hung limply on the trees,
twirled as they fell gently down.
The bus was not crowded,
so we could sit together.
Buildings from the Soviet time,
you showed me through the window.
Things must have been unnatural then, I thought,
with no wind or weather,
only the threat of twisted wire,
the blank cold of Siberia,
but the Republic of Armenia
is still shadowed by the bear of Russia.
To an outer suburb of Yerevan,
the bus took us, a poor district you said.
We got off at our stop.
You asked for directions,
and we followed where they led.
we finally saw the sign,
we entered the doorway,
began waiting in a line.
It was not romantic,
it was practical and plain.
We were there for your tuberculosis test
that you had to pass
so your visa you could gain.
It was when we waited outside the X-Ray Room
that I smiled, felt we ought to celebrate,
for it convinced me we were a real couple,
we had walked through true love’s gate,
for that is what real couples do,
they do everything together,
sit together in hospitals, doctor’s surgeries,
official buildings, like everyone else,
they have to wait in the queue.
No, real romance is not just about visits to cafes and cinemas,
it’s about going through the hard and cold,
so thank you Muratsan Hospital,
you established us as a real couple,
gave us more than my lines have told.