Tara Skurtu

Happy Hour
March 18, 2019 Skurtu Tara


I wasn’t supposed to touch the two glazed ceramic turtles
on Gramma’s wood-paneled TV, so I picked one up.

Cool underbelly in my palm, I turned it over—
something wasn’t right.

It had privates. Human privates. Just like mine,
except for some painted black squiggles of hair.

I wanted to undo what I’d done. I swallowed
the echo of my mother telling me

what her mother told her, and what
her mother’s mother had also said

to sinful children: God will punish you.

Behind the sliding glass door,
Gramma lifts her glass:

Here’s to all who wish us well.
All the rest can go to hell.


Tara Skurtu is the author of the chapbook Skurtu, Romania, the full poetry collection The Amoeba Game, and the upcoming collection Faith Farm. A two-time Fulbright grantee and recipient of a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship, the Marcia Keach Poetry Prize, and two Academy of American Poets prizes, she is the founder of International Poetry Circle and a former steering committee member of Writers for Democratic Action. Tara is based in Brooklyn, where she is a writing coach for clients worldwide.



photo credit: Spencer Ostrander