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 a two-time Fulbright grantee and recipient of two Academy of American Poets prizes and a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry. She is the author of the chapbook Skurtu, Romania and the full-length poetry collection The Amoeba Game.