poems by Tara Skurtu


versiunea română

Overnight, someone has epoxied a bright pink dildo

onto the Virgin Mary outside the Sacred Heart Church.


It’s Sunday. From the café window I watch a woman

cover her son’s eyes and make the Sign of the Cross

as they head past the statue’s outstretched arms,

up the steps. A stranger at a neighboring table says,


Worse than the time some asshole in Hopkinton stole

the plastic baby Jesus right out of the manger.


I remember that. A sign in red paint: Shame on you

if you stole Jesus! I saw it on the news at Braintree Station


that Christmas eve. The camera panned a field

of lighted reindeer. Then Mary, palms in prayer at her chest,


and Joseph, on one knee, admiring a basket of snow.






Who wants an eternity of cloud-

to-cloud bouncing, no afternoon

chocolate chip cookie in sight?

I’m against dying.


If I were an orange, I would not have

a very long life, because people

would eat me. So I don’t want

to be an orange.


I raise my hand, ask Sister John

the Baptist, Can you eat cookies

in Heaven? Turns out, you can’t

even bake them.


And reincarnation means you lose

all of your bodies to the forever abyss

of consciousness—so I choose body.

But in death, let me be


ash. Let me be scattered illegally

into the Charles as a riverboat

emerges from the shadows of

the Salt-and-Pepper Bridge.


Let there be a birthday party

on that boat, my hungry selves

swirling in the wind while the song

is sung and the cake is cut.




To a Barracuda


The Patagonian toothfish has nothing

on you—I’d eat him up any day.

That zipper-toothed piranha may share

your itch for ambush and flesh

until he meets the mouth of a river

otter. He’ll settle for an aquarium

life with the occasional blood

worm, goldfish. An alligator,

almost. His dynamo of death roll

rendered vincible by a soft

spot in the skull, quarter-sized.

But you, barracuda—wallflower

ambusher, solitary scavenger

of gut scrap—I never expected

to see you this close. Your sleek steel

sizing up my gear, the silver gleam

of a ring. Your razor and dagger

and needle teeth pointing

me back to shore.


[all poems from The Amoeba Game, Eyewear Publishing]


poems by Tara Skurtu

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