Tara Skurtu

Indian River at Dusk
November 10, 2014 Skurtu Tara

Indian River at Dusk


The first and only time I caught a sheephead

big enough to eat, black and white and breathing

in my hands. On my way to get ice I got

distracted, tossed Dad’s keys in the water.


I was a good Catholic: I walked him to the spot

and pointed. I made up a lie, but I named

everyone I loved to God before falling

asleep in my yellow room every night—


God was a word person. After two

Hail Marys and an Our Father I’d be

good again. Like my words, I knew where

the keys landed. I’ve tried to write


about this before. For over a year I made myself

guiltless, couldn’t preserve the thing I caught

or get the syntax right. I didn’t know about

currents. I can’t keep anyone safe.

Tara Skurtu is a two-time Fulbright grantee and recipient of two Academy of American Poets prizes, a Marcia Keach Poetry Prize, and a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship. She is the author of The Amoeba Game, and her recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Salmagundi, The Common, The Baffler, and Poetry Wales.