Talin Tahajian

Our youth at night

I have so many secrets.
The boys in this city
are the softest in the world.
Boys comment on my smallness
& then buy me breakfast.
I tell so many lies.
We're all just teenagers
beneath some fresh-leather
thunderstorm sky. The world
usually smells like it's dying
but it's the same smell
as those chlorine summer
nights so you learn
to fall in love with it.
It's like when the ground
is wet & everything
springs up from the earth
with the urgency of any animal
trying to survive the water.
Everyone is part of some sort
of bloodline but we're all alone
in surviving the water.
That's something else
I learned from this city.
I understand earthworms
in a new way & if you still don't
appreciate their bodies all dead
& naked after the rain
go lose a friend then jump
into a lake & pretend to drown.
If you survive that, then
you'll know. Last night, I slept
with a stranger & all I remember
is our reverberating quiet.
So viscous it kept me
afloat. Not silence at all.
He wasn't a stranger
at all & so fucking soft.


The flesh on this planet

Some nights, I bite into a plum
              & think Oh
                            it looks meat.
That brilliant
              fleshy red. I expect
to feel bone, & then
              I do. That is the problem
                            with running away from yourself
              over & over again.
Eventually, it all comes back. The fruits
              are harvested. The pigeons come home
                            to roost. All of this is true
              the way flight is true
for humans & birds.
              As if we could fly to the moon
                            or some other giant rock
              with water: such love
for a planet we never knew.
              At the diner, someone asks
                            for a tiny egg, so we raid the nest
              of a tiny family
& kill their children
              in a burst of flesh & seeds.
                            I have never understood why it is important
              to know both meat & fruit, but now
I do. In the end, everything
              means everything else. Our fruits
                            are grown with the force
              of animals. Our animals
eat the fruit. Listen: all of the energy
              the world has ever given or taken
                            has happened like this. Somewhere, right
              now, everything in the universe
is happening at once, & you, alone
              in a small dark room at midnight, are silent
                            to it all, eating a plum, looking
              at the moon, not much different
from the mouse in the cabinet. Listen:
              the flesh of the plum, the fan
                            & the refrigerator, humming.
              The mouse in the cupboard.
Life has always sounded like this.

Talin Tahajian grew up near Boston. Her poetry has appeared in Indiana Review, Kenyon Review Online, Sixth Finch, Birdfeast, Best New Poets 2014, and Columbia Poetry 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.