— Talin Tahajian

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.

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