Two Poems

Poetry / Talin Tahajian

We saw them everywhere

We saw them everywhere, the moths inside the oven
& stuck to cold basement walls. So small & light
as if lightness was the opposite of sadness
in some early version of the world. When I peeled
them from the walls, all frozen & stuck
with skin, I wanted to scream like a bird
with no mother. I am not a man with hundreds of reasons
to kill a sparrow. The part of my quick
beating heart that is a small boy

has never been sadder. He felt like a dying animal
the way beasts look in the mirror & feel like gods
or small frozen moths. This is what I mean: their deadness
was something sacred. Let me explain: still trembling
with the possibility of flight. I have never known anything
as important as that. Let me explain: that awful
blueness. Let me explain: the point is to look like the ocean.


I dreamed you were an older man
& everything was gentle. This made it hurt

more than you’d think. I didn’t wake up
in a panic. I was calm. It is something you learn

eventually. It takes a long time to understand
how to move with the pain & white.

All that milk & bone. Anything can be gentle
if you pray hard enough. I don’t have a word

for that awful softness. Imagine a salmon
split & splayed. Belly soft & spilling

with juice. The ravished pink. Caressing
those tender places: viscera bruised

& torn into roses. In dreams, I have a limp
& those tender places bloom into something

I don’t understand how to touch. You were soft
& white, gentle as a deity. This is not the way

I was made to exist. It is a terrible thing
to assume creation. To play God with weaker things.

Talin Tahajian grew up near Boston. Her poetry has recently appeared in Salt Hill Journal, Indiana Review, Kenyon Review Online, Best New Poets 2014, Columbia Poetry Review, and Washington Square Review. She's the author of half a split chapbook, Start with dead things (Midnight City Books, 2015), and serves as a poetry editor for the Adroit Journal. She is currently a student at the University of Cambridge, where she studies English literature.