My grandmother’s thighs

(Photo provided by Tamar Haytayan)

You have your grandmother’s thighs
She says
You have your grandmother’s thighs
He says
Thunder thighs
I have my grandmother’s hair
I say
I remember its salt and pepper
Streaks of white and black
Salt and pepper
Words of strength for me
Don’t leave me, she screamed
As we pitter-pattered down the five
Flights of stairs
In flight
Running from the pain
Of leaving her
To the mercy of the mass
Cancer they called it
In her pancreas
What can he do
She asked
You are more useful to me here
You can take care of me
So, my mother
Her daughter in law
Traversed the sea
To be with her
Surrounded by bullet holes
Ever so permanently imbedded
In the building walls
Six months
I want to see her, I insisted
I am her first grandchild
I have to see her
Medsmama, how are you
Akkhhh, I am dying my child
Pray for me
Pray with me
She is horizontal
I am vertical
We have to leave Medsmama
I remember her lying on her bed
Placed in her living room
On her side with her head resting on one arm
I want her to live
We have to leave
My mother and I
Running down the stairs
With her wanting to shield me
From my grandmother’s screams
I am sixteen mama
I just lost my virginity
I can handle it

Tamar Haytayan
Tamar Haytayan is a Vancouver-based photographer working from a personal and intuitive perspective to capture candid moments of the culture of everyday life. A central theme of several of her projects has been the exploration of memory, mortality and grief. Tamar Haytayan studied photography at the Bournemouth & Poole College of Art & Design in Bournemouth, UK, and her body of work spans over the last 28 years. Tamar has shown at the Armenian Centre for Contemporary Art (Yerevan, Armenia), PhotoHaus Gallery (Vancouver, Canada), Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (Philadelphia, USA), The Women's Art Show (Vancouver, Canada), The Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins, Colorado), Los Angeles Centre of Photography (Los Angeles), and The Blue Sky Gallery (Portland, Oregon). She has also collaborated with the performance artist and poet Dr. Celeste Snowber (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada) and currently resides in Vancouver, Canada with her musician and designer husband, Haig, children Jivan and Ani and poodle Tipper.
Tamar Haytayan

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