Sarah Tarkany

THIS STAIRWELL WAS NOT A RANDOM ACT

SARAH TARKANY

 
 
of all the places almost every one is a fire exit

but she is the stairwell and the stairwell is her
an opening to confirm the consistent

he returns after following her
holding her waistband





it is normal to establish contact
we increase in stairwells

they’re all the same, a closed room,
a white girl with
a woman’s sayso and indiscretion

it’s hard to tell when you’re drunk

if a stairwell occurred
these are becoming a haven




somebody should be watching in mirrors
I’m trying to stay away to reduce the risk

the blood was menstrual, the rest:
an acquitted man, an animal of colors

tell the truth before you ruin lives
everybody wants to be safe

I told him he was right
how can you be raped standing up?
 

MY DEAR MEG

I remember

when you used

to write about

trees behind

your

grandfather’s

house and

always thought

of the woods

behind my

piano teacher’s

fence and how

they were

forbidden and I

was afraid to

use her

bathroom so I

would pee

behind in a field

of high dead

dry grass and

my girlness

caused it to run

down my leg

but I was so

afraid of her

smoky ceilings

and watery-

eyed puppies

my

grandmother on

the other hand

used to take us

walking in the

creek in old

shoes with a

bag full of

rations and we

would let the

not-yet-so-

heavily-

polluted water

swallow us as

we looked for

the dead the

brachiopods

and horn coral

the ancient and

petrified now

the creek is

soapy where it

isn’t

completely dry

I picked up a

fossilized spine

once and

dropped it in

shock it could

be my own

backbone my

own stony

insides but

there were trees

there too I

assure you there

were

the leaves were

supposed to be

good luck but

when my

grandmother’s

lungs started

filling with bile

when she had to

have them

drained the last

time I saw her

alive there was

fluid

everywhere

everywhere

everywhere

it was before

my first piano

recital my

mother came to

me pulled me

from my bath

wrapping me in

my sister’s

towel by

mistake to tell

me she had died

and I would see

my father cry

harder than I

had before and

since and

remember

admiring that

he was not

afraid had given

himself over to

grief and

though I did not

know totally

what I was

grieving I gave

myself over too

took myself to

the place where

he was let my

small drying

girl body be

there too

 

Sarah Tarkany was born in Charleston, SC. She earned her MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago in 2013 and is an MA candidate in both Theology and Women's Studies and Gender Studies at Loyola University. She enjoys a happy life in Chicago baking pies and teaching writing in the City Colleges and elsewhere. Her poetry can be found in Columbia Poetry Review and Court Green.