Ayten Tartici

Thickening Dark (Penelope)


The seagull—stubborn scavenger of carrion,

with a voice of never wanting

           to venture out to sea—


chafes against the charcoal sky.


Who says, this darkness upon darkness

is without edge?


I sit beside the potted begonias,

silent & invisible.

The Archive


We kept all the documents

in the blue-tiled eye of our houses,

and crumbled our backs

into whitecaps as broken crests.

We were called the living birds

of cities, and we called her,

the white water.


We wrote everything in our annals

everything that had happened

in the city, like zealous little birds,

die Grasmücke über die pyranishe Gebirge,

the punctual warbler over the Pyrenees.


As air hits the window,

time coils in the light of our eyes. We wear thin

trying to get there.

How much should each sentence weigh?
              It burns our chest.

Look how we are keeping everything

within and at the margins—


don't write me out just yet.

Woman Holding a Balance (After Vermeer)

A stripe of light bores down into this room

of dark thickness, resting its undemanding slight mass

upon the small balance she holds.


Behind her, in a painting,

the last judgment, the bugle and the wind:


people with once real faces, children with white hair

from whom heaven and earth have fled, 

this wild thing on us and before us,

our loud arrested silhouettes.


But she peacefully turns her face


away from the painting. There is nothing


that the leaves of her eyes will not open for

and opening them, will expect nothing.


Is this indifference? The wind keeps the shutters flapping

against closed panes of glass.


It is 1664. Can we stay so still?  




I do not believe in that perpetual serenity, but in the things

that will not rest at equilibrium. Like this window,

its gushing vast of air, the slow stirring drapes,

the delayed shaking of

her hand instilling these sharp

reverberations in my mind.


She holds a needle

cracking an egg.

Ayten Tartici is a poet, visual artist, and PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at Yale University. Her work has previously appeared in Anamesa, Palimpsest, Confrontation, The Harvard Advocate, and Make Literary Magazine.



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Grace Cavalieri

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Rod Jellema

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William Page

Patric Pepper

Oliver Rice

W.M. Rivera

Peter Serchuk

M.R. Smith

Ellen Steinbaum

Myrna Stone

Robert Joe Stout

Tim Suermondt

Ayten Tartici

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