I Don’t Live in a Mountainous Country by Talin Tahajian

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We look up, & beyond the maple trees & the brick
steeples with weathervane roosters, clouds billow
as sleeping monsters. Not the sort of billowing

that clouds are usually known to do, but the steep
sort, ridges as bright white cliffs. In sunlight, they pile
toward the soft summer moon, alive during the day.

I don’t live in a mountainous country, but we look
toward the horizon & pretend. August hurricanes
& we sip our tea & pretend there is no rain. We rip

off our clothes & wade into the rushing grey Atlantic.
What is left to say about the color of the sea? At night
we sleep alone. This much is true: I am so moved

by the stars. The clouds clear, & the suburbs spread
beneath them. They open to the sky. The stars reflect
in every transparent thing. Once, at a big park late

at night, I saw a comet. I stood in awe. Then, I looked
over at a streetlight & mistook a moth flying toward it
for another shooting star. The celestial body & that tiny

insect: not as different as they seem. Both flying
toward similar kinds of dying. I look up at the stars
& they are the same stars that all of our ancestors

looked at. They are the same stars that astronauts see
from their small place in the sky. I think about rising
to meet them & I am obsessed with the possibility.

 


Talin Tahajian grew up near Boston. Her poetry has recently appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Indiana Review, Best New Poets 2014, Sixth Finch, Birdfeast, and Columbia Poetry Review. She wrote a chapbook, The smallest thing on Earth (Bloom Books, 2016), and edits poetry for the Adroit Journal. She’s currently a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge, where she studies English literature.