Thicker Than Blood

At the age of 22, I met the 63-year-old Armenian woman who had given me up for adoption. On the evening of that breathtaking day I stood in her bedroom.  We spoke through our reflection in the mirror in front of us. I felt small, not in the five-foot way I was used to, but in the little girl-in-awe-of-her-elder way. She spoke brilliantly of Yerevan, of roasted lamb, and the importance of skilled tailors – all the while disrobing in front of me. For the first time my inner child gazed upon the future of its olive-heud shape. 

This was not the tall, slim body of the European woman who’d raised me. This was a thick-hipped, unapologetic, Middle-Eastern woman. Her skin was freckled with moles, like the moonlit sky I would often look up to when my restless soul couldn’t sleep. I wondered if her heart might also be reaching towards that universal moon and, perhaps, thinking of me. I didn’t realize just how deeply I had longed for this quantum entanglement.

Mother told me stories of the Armenian genocide and of our Ararat. After minutes passed, she paused with intent, as to say “Pay attention now, my child.” Her spine was straight, fully embodied her matronly figure, suited-up with a thick strapped brassiere and delicate hosiery. It was then she told me that our ancestors leapt from Mount Ararat to save themselves from rape and murder; to save their children from Earthly suffering.

This drawn-out jolt caused my world to spin.  I felt drunk and dizzy from skin and truth. “Skin, truth, and leaping to save oneself. Common themes of this survivor,” I thought.  “She’d been looking over me through that universal moon,” I was convinced. “Why else would this be the first family story she shared?” Even a generation and 22 years apart, we both understood patterns of victimization are more than skin deep. She has since passed, resting in the galaxy with that universal moon. Still, our blood’s knowing is with me; It continues to save me in those moments when I cannot seem to save myself.


art by StellaireStudio. from their vintage women’s series collage “Contemplate.” It is available for purchase on Etsy.


Hokis is an American poet of Armenian descent. She is Founder and Senior Editor of Headline Poetry & Press and a regular contributor to Reclamation Magazine. Hokis is widely published digitally and in print. Her poetic memoir "OnBecoming: Aesthetic Evolution of This Rising Ancestor" is available on Amazon or through your indie bookstore. For more, visit

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