Wanda Waldera © 2014 All Rights Reserved

Survivor Vade Mecum

Go swimming in salt water.
Think, I am a living, breathing organism.

Remember your neighbor Marlene,
her neon lips, twenty-something

feral cats, her Buick, its red and white
bumper sticker: Shit happens.

Under the topsoil in her backyard,
a constellation of cats.

You’ve added some to this lot.
The mangled mass on Georgia Avenue,

blood spreading like a puddle of piss—
someone else’s hit-and-run.

You asked your dad to please give
the body a proper burial,

and he pulled over, scraped it
from the asphalt into a cardboard box.

You are a living, breathing organism
with all of your fingers and both feet,

swimming in the ocean, feeding the fish.


Tara Skurtu
Copyright © 2014  

Tara Skurtu is a Lecturer at Boston University, a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow, and a recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her poems have been translated into Romanian, and appear in Poetry Review, the Dalhousie Review, B O D Y, the minnesota review, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere.

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