& I don’t even know what to do with myself. This is not a matter of when / I am going to ice my cake, or when I am going to stop pretending / that none of us exist in real life. I exist / in real life. That is something you have / to understand. I am the biggest success story I know. Tomorrow, I will buy out / an entire bakery. All of the cakes / will have my name written on them / as chocolate gold. We are all celebrating the same / sort of misery. We sleep to get through life. I want to crawl / into a teacup & sleep forever.
& it was November, & I have never stopped telling lies. I don’t remember anything / about what it means to be young. I know everything / about my youth. We throw split limes into trashcans / to make them smell like our mothers. We carve candy apples / until they glisten. An imaginary afternoon / in October. I core the apples & I am the one / who plants the seeds. When saplings / pop through the soil, I am the one who is congratulated. I am responsible / for all this life. I bow.
& teacup pigs. Thank God / for saltwater taffy. Thank God for coffee in the rain. I am learning to love myself & it is happening / quickly. I am using a fake name so that I can pretend / to be honest. I know that makes no sense. I miss Jesus. I miss cheap / communion wine & stale crackers. What if that were all I ever / ate. One meal a week. New detox diet. I could persuade millions / of women to convert to Catholicism. After all, we need someone to thank for tampons & almond milk / & all those things I shouldn’t mention. This is a microphone / & this is me thanking Jesus / for foam fingers, fried dough, & sex during Fox News.
but not unless I am offered a raise. This wouldn’t be funny / if it were true. If I were to elope in Vegas / flanked by a herd of elephants, I don’t think people would be very / surprised. It is difficult to shock / the public. If you were to walk into a Starbucks in New Hampshire & order / a tall iced dirty chai latte with extra soy milk / & I were the one to turn around & serve it to you / would you be surprised? I promise / to spell your name right. I promise to hand you a straw / so you don’t have to get one yourself. You’re welcome. I have never been to college / & I’m smarter than most people. I know exactly / what I’m doing.
when Neo realizes he’s the One? Not quite a god, but something / close. That is how I feel / every time I wake up. I dream of working / at a grocery store. The type of dream that lasts / decades. In it, I am waiting / for someone to know who I am. To notice me on a street corner / & scream my name. As if it’s a good thing / when it’s true. There is a difference / between publicity & privacy, but I don’t know what it is / anymore. In dreams, I sleep alone.
& you thought I had disappeared for good. Some sort of steaming / ghost. I could never be a ghost / because I don’t know anything about the moon. I know nothing about children. This is all / one big true story. I could warm my hands / by sitting on them. Leather seats. I could drive / to Alaska, but I still wouldn’t even / be gone for good. There are three mugs of coffee / in the cup holders. One for me, one for you, & one / for my ghost. That is what I call / a holy trinity. Especially because / two-thirds of it is me. When I came home, you smiled / & covered your eyes, as if I were a burning bush / blossoming with roses.
but sometimes it’s too foggy. Winter nights, I sit on the floor naked / with all of the windows open / & it feels like the air is eating my skin. The second best feeling / in the world. Sometimes you can see the moon during the day, & I’m not sure / why, but I like it. By June, the clouds are being divas again, & there’s usually a thick / blue rain, & nothing about any of that / helps me see the sky at night. I settle for neon signs / in diner windows. Open. Closed. Help needed. Always so much / help needed.
on an old clock radio / & I am sure that this is how I am supposed to live. I want the smoky white / early morning sky to open up / & swallow me whole. I want the entire world / to know that I exist. So many empty streets. I don’t know what’s going to happen / when other people wake up / & I’m not alone anymore, but I’m not / looking forward to it. If there were a way to kill some small section / of the sky, I would. If there were a way to flip off the sun / as it rises, I would do that, too. The violins swell.
with the penny board, or the girl / with the blue tattoos. If I were driving down the street / in a red convertible, & they ran in front of me, I don’t think / I would stop. There aren’t many people / I would stop for. I am speaking very generally. Those blue designs, crushed / into the street. The thought makes me want to cry. There are so many things I would cry about / if I could. I spent this entire week / being sad about the boy / with the penny board & the girl / with all the tattoos, & there are other things / I am sad about, & I’m worried that I’m going to spend the rest of my life / being sad about them.
it’ll be another forty or fifty years before it turns off. I say this both as an estimate / & as a fact. I know a thing or two about music. I know something / about how to breathe deeply. Radiation / & sound waves. The entire legacy / of the human race. What’s left after all our libraries / burn. After every birthday cake in the world / melts. When you imagined the end / of humanity, I bet that’s something / you never saw coming. It will be somebody’s birthday / that day.
Talin Tahajian grew up near Boston. Her poetry has recently appeared in PANK, Word Riot, DIAGRAM, Best New Poets 2014, Washington Square Review, and on Verse Daily. She was a finalist for the 2014 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, and serves as a poetry editor for The Adroit Journal. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge, where she is studying English literature and attempting to assimilate.