Talin Tahajian

I am nothingbecause I want nothing.There is nothing I want.When I was in love, my lovebecame my sadness. When I was oblique, rock castagainst rock, my two eyes hung like pistolsaflame in a boundless void. I remember a shepherdsummoning me to the cliff, a trainthat left me stranded at the platform. For years, I watched,from an empty field, an empty river risingas an angel choked at the bank. I am the chorusand the choir, she screamed,the psalmist and the psalm. Though I waitedfor you, bright “I,”though I wait,when I jumped the turnstile                                                                                Awaken!at the gate, I could not hear you calling, I did notknow my fate. Had I known, then, that you were the rising waterand the fleeing hares, had I knownthat answering your prayerswas the answer to my prayersand that doubting itcould/wouldkill me, I could have been able to stopthe flood/would I have been able to stop?—smoke a fag, scratch the scab. I could not hear you calling,but I know it’s you who calls. I’ll find you                                                                                   Awaken!at the end of the line, where the glass orb spins foreverand the meadows twist like dogs. To write, I must open my eyes—                                                    To open your eyes, you must write!

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Talin Tahajian is from Massachusetts. She has an MFA in poetry from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program (U-M), where she won a Hopwood, and an MPhil in Medieval and Renaissance Literature from Trinity College, Cambridge, where she was funded by a Gould Studentship in English Literature. You can find her poems in POETRY, Narrative, Best New Poets, The Kenyon Review, Pleiades, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. She’s a PhD student at Yale and an assistant editor of The Yale Review.

Cover for West Branch Fall 2023

Fall 2023

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Stadler Center for Poetry
Bucknell University

G. C. Waldrep

Managing Editor
Andrew Ciotola

Shara Lessley

West Branch is a thrice annual magazine of poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews, founded in 1977 and housed at the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University.

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