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Three Poems by Silva Zanoyan Merjanian


Tonight a thousand eyelids will close on beautiful lies
and quivering lips will sleep unkissed
untouched by sultry blue jazz in the dark
tonight lust will blister on menopausal gritty tongues
and blind vultures will circle parameters of a man’s heart

tonight middle aged men will look for love in midtown bars
and women selling artificial flavors to the tune of hallelujahs
will sharpen their knives

tonight poets will find the words to color their hell
and dip their pens in wounds that aren’t even theirs

tonight somewhere it will rain on wingless birds their love songs mending broken pillows
in high notes

tonight she will step out with her hair down, in new stilettos
she’ll blow a kiss with naked lips through the door left ajar

tonight, tonight’s no different than any other night
the walls are thin, the moon is skinned, blindfolds handed free


Over there
all that happened
(and didn’t happen)
packed in  mental mothballs
stories fading with creases
some reduced and softer versions

wonder why I preserve breaths
forced through my lungs in those days
stringed around the eye of a demonic hurricane
circling, nameless
shaking me shameless

on nights when a collective sigh
stings and I can’t tell
which part tolls for me
and which nocturnal howls
do lift the dust
then relive in slivers
on a pink tip of my tongue
afraid to bite a dreamt memory
klaxons singing street vendors down

I want a dripping whiff of that afternoon coffee
a little bitter, a little hot
those ten minutes when no one minds
a willed cease fire
and time hovered upon us
long enough for my mother
to build castles in my cup

over there
the man flying his doves
on the roof across two streets
remains a blur
but the doves stirring the air
in perfect unison
(I had named them after heroes long forgot)
sometimes still raise dust
of their feathers’ aches in my room

I believed then
I could break away
break away

I did one day
but the doves were  left to die

over there
at dusk my father played the mandolin
and my mother’s voice filled all the gaps
between our breaths –
the dam that held overflow of war
almost long enough for us to dream

why do I long for hell
on nights
when I can’t sieve my sigh from the wind’s eye
and I wonder if I really ever broke away
from a circle named dead doves

scent of jasmine
in those memories
still smells like home, back home.


Outside, desert air licks tents with an icy tongue,
creeping under pegs unto the sand floor inside,
where she waits morning, legs squeezed, trembling tight.
Her mother’s warm breath with a hint of onion and lentil smell
brushes on her face, calms tremor of awake nightmares,
her sister’s knees dig into small of her back.

She tucks her cold feet under her aunt’s ample buttocks,
finds comfort and safety in the call of unwashed bodies,
familiar, earthy, sweat of family in deep disturbed sleep
on worn beige mattresses pressed side by side.

A limb resting on her distended bladder feels heavy,
she knows she has to hold it in, till light leaks
from between clouds bearing down, birthing morning relief
over a tense night battling more than a winter’s wrath.

It is not safe to walk at night to the one makeshift bathroom outside
her father had said, not even holding mother’s hand.
She remembers the stars as they faded one by one with each thrust,
when strange men tore into her that night, their moans mocking whimpers
escaping through large fingers pressing on her mouth.

She feels the sting first, between her bruised thighs,
before the wet warmth soaks through her pink pajamas,
darkening with yellow and red princess patterns
into the coarse mattress, where her siblings lie
entangled in fading dreams of home.

She couldn’t hold, she is after all only eight years old.

Silva Zanoyan Merjanian is a published poet residing in Southern California with her husband and two sons. She recently released the first volume of her poems Uncoil a Night with all proceeds donated to a charity helping innocent families caught in middle of wars.  She has been published in Streetcake Magazine, Miracle-ezine , The Literary Groong, Mad Swirl, The Galway Review, and The Artistic Muse   (December 2013 issue.)  Silva has been invited to read and introduce her recently released book, and participate in the Poetry Bus in August at the Fermoy International Poetry Festival, 2013.



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