GH4: Talin Tahajian’s “With Pretty Legs”

“With Pretty Legs” by Talin Tahajian, published in the January/February 2017 issue of BOAAT.

A little behind this week – it was a rough weekend for me, which, of course means that even beautiful things take far too much energy than they usually do. But I’ve still been reading, at least. Clicking through lots of poetry, looking for hope. And BOAAT is one of those journals that tends toward hope. Talin Tahajian’s poem, at first glance, might not scream “hope” at you, filled as it is with ghosts that live in dishwashers and vultures circling. But I read this poem the same way I look at a vanitas-style painting, the way light envelopes a still-life.

[…] I am listing all of the people
who love me. Facts: Each day, at some point

between dawn & noon, I turn into a hawk.
A casual metamorphosis.

You’ve probably seen vanitas paintings before, the skull on a table, flowers, dripping candles. They are meant to work as a memento mori, of sorts, tangible and cold. Tahajian’s poem reads similarly to me, and I don’t want to look away.

I am drawn to the autumnal qualities of this poem (yes, even with winter aspects of snow, I still am picturing fall), the details of the red tattoos and snow and vultures with the capacity for love. Even in the body of a dead animal, Tahajian’s work reminds me, there is the capacity for beauty, the memory of not just death but also life.