Submarine poem no. 1
We are scared to outlive
one another. This is our excuse
for drowning. Someday, the radio
will stop buzzing & everyone
will sit in the quiet, afraid
to stop making tiny noises
with their small tongues & teeth.
Submarine poem no. 3
All those blue ghosts of our prey
as one crowd in the rain.
No one speaks. They smile
like foxes in the dark.
You’re so cute. So pretty
with teeth & talons. Crowds
of ghosts. We eat meat
& hunt carrion. Our meat
is already dead. That’s the joke.
It’s dangerous to be that cute.
When there’s no more rain,
we smoke pink & gold things
to feel royal. We smoke them
& pretend to be rich.
Submarine poem no. 5
The smallest thing on Earth
is the heartbeat of the rat who lives
beneath the floor of the nightclub
near the train station. It grows
with the heat of the walls in winter.
It shrinks when no one’s watching.
When people see rats, they think
they’ve seen ghosts. Quick glimpses
of dark on dark. At night, we sleep
& tiny planets orbit in our stomachs.
Submarine poem no. 6
When the lights lift, everything is silent. There are ghosts
in the rafters. Small sequins reflecting so much
electric light. Sound systems vibrating
as if we are leagues below the surface
of a glossy black freshwater, the type of lake
with lost river fish, pieces of bone. I know you think of me
as pieces of bone, all rich in lovely parts. This is why
we dance at night. We have bodies, & sometimes
terrible things happen. Think about this
& think about the meat. Hot nightclubs. DJs with sharp
teeth & quick hands. I love the color of light
when it’s hot enough to burn. I love body glitter
& the ghosts that live in soft pale arms
& small flashes of light on the ceiling. All those ghosts
in the pipes & in the walls. At night, they slip
into your ears. They whisper you sweet things.
Submarine poem no. 8
Here are the rules: we swim slowly. The only things
we know how to know. We leave at night. It seems kinder
that way. Crowds of ghosts in submarines, all turning
around to say Thank you! thank you for inviting us
to your party. It is night for a long time. Waking up
in some silver-bellied god, surrounded by seawater.
This has nothing to do with sadness, & everything
to do with light. Buzzing ghosts. These people we know
will all belong in museums someday.
Talin Tahajian is from Boston. Her poetry has recently appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Indiana Review, Best New Poets 2014, Sixth Finch, Birdfeast, & Columbia Poetry Review. She wrote a half a split chapbook, START WITH DEAD THINGS (Midnight City Books, 2015), edits poetry at the Adroit Journal, & studies English literature at the University of Cambridge.