There is an old Armenian practice,
when a girl comes of age
she’s given salty cakes before bed,
for the whole night denied
a drink. In her dreams
the person she is meant to marry
brings her a glass of water.
She drinks and drinks and drinks.
In the morning she wakes
thirsty, and unable to remember.
Tip of the yellow umbrella,
she’s there, shy girl teetering
on shelves, behind turmeric,
black pepper, often ignored.
Poured into shakers, palms, her power
taken for granted. She obliterates
the softest things—
They say the pools heal. The older
men levitate, chalky white, lips
cracked from hours in salt,
bellies domed like half moons
submerged in milk.
Great pyramids of salt, line
the shore, coarse mounds
I’d like to climb, fly
down in a red sled,
straight to the sea.
Melanie Tafejian is a poet and educator from Olympia, WA. She holds an MFA in Poetry from North Carolina State University, where she won the 2020 North Carolina State Poetry Contest. She was awarded second place in the William Matthew’s Poetry Prize and has work in or forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, Poetry Northwest, Raleigh Review, Willow Springs, and The Kenyon Review.