Talin Tahajian grew up near Boston. Her poetry has appeared in the Kenyon Review Online, Indiana Review, Best New Poets 2014 & 2016, Black Warrior Review, and Washington Square Review. She edits poetry for Big Lucks and the Adroit Journal, and is an MFA candidate at the University of Michigan.
Շարական (“In this new country”)
I’m living in a ridiculous, beautiful imitation
of a place I’ve already lived.
America’s scholarly faux cathedrals—
her gothic turrets and traceries—
her autumn-evening blue-bright architectures—
the way the light leaks in, cutting neat the forested edge of the entire visible world—
where the street folds into itself and ends without indication—
where everything is made miniature at the end of a long brick road with maples—
her nouveau riche. Her strange glories inherited—
her good real estate. Such a good way to render this discovered
immaculate land—I wake up, and my goddess-huge maple
has started to turn. Its leaves all flushed through.
September is over. And still I don’t know where in the world I am—
Here, in this new country, more people look like me—look just like me—
In moments of daily theophany, I walk by girls who look like me.
Imagine, all of us together again in the cul-de-sac of our ancestors.
Lined up as tiny identical icons—assembled in perfect portraiture—
kissing our խաչքարեր for mercy—but this time, not shot dead in turn—
Խարբերդ, the place we’re from, is no longer part of our country.
And, most of all, we’ll say, of Արարատ, they stole our beautiful mountain.
I don’t know what’s left in Armenia for me.
And Aleppo is gone.
In my mind, every day, I’m still on King’s Parade—
I’m crossing the same bridge over and over—
I did the best I could—it doesn’t matter—
there’s no place for me in England—
I waited three years to go into King’s Chapel, and when I did, my blood was flashing artificial—
I was seeing things that God didn’t choose to make—all of us
showing such petty irreverence for those blood-blue vaults and buttresses, all of us
together beneath the ripe-hanging festival moon—
The drugs tortured me as they left me—They torture me and again
again the torture, as the sun rose, through my fits and figures,
sapped primordial as Michelangelo’s yet-lifeless Adam, palms limp—
reaching toward grace—for the drugs—in some other kind of begging
before prayer existed at all—farewell, love, I’ve thought to myself
as I rise with it—the chemicals—naming myself and my friends over and over.
I sometimes forget my nomenclatures—I sometimes forget—
Once, I licked drugs from the hands of someone I love
disgustingly particularly—do you remember?—
I am reminded of creation as wicked in a way that can’t be described
in speech or spell—that devilish art—I was named after a village
with a cathedral inside it . Talin, first misnamed nine
centuries ago by an ancient astronomer—an old master—I’d rather forget.
I name myself—Թալին—I name him too—Ptolemy—
O my ancestors—O my lovely lost forgotten գուսանք—
my own little շարական—I create you—
I don’t know you—I still don’t know what parts of me are holy—