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 Amoeba Game and the upcoming poetry collection Faith Farm. A two-time Fulbright grantee and recipient of a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship and two Academy of American Poets prizes, she is the founder of International Poetry Circle, a national steering committee member of Writers for Democratic Action, and works as a writing coach. Tara’s recent poems appear in SalmagundiThe CommonThe Baffler, and Poetry Wales.