Two Poems by Becky Tarasick

Car headlights aimed at person in road
Photo by Eugene Triguba on Unsplash

rallying cry from the gravel shoulder

call me roadkill. call me dead meat,
guts                                 splayed out
and streaking. 

watched a bird fly into the wheel of a car
once. dove too low and got caught
in the crunch. thought—how’d you 

like that? ripped up red stain, more grit
than feather. pull yourself back together.
i’ll peel myself off the road if you do.
come on, 

call this relapse. i've got my eye on you.
it's falling out of the socket. socket ain’t
there, crushed by an eighteen wheeler.
i’m flat where i shouldn’t be. 

saw the inside of a turtle’s skull
once, all mashed up and pink.
get on up soldier, getting smoked shouldn’t
stop you. i’m marching next to you,
dragging my ruined body behind. 

cross the median line. headlights
straight on—run me over one more time.
even me out. come on, hit me again.
come on, hit me                       again.
i’ve still got half a body left to bury.


cashier at campus thai restaurant calls me [sir]

and it’s better than [ma’am]
but I’ve yet to unpack why that is.

[Boy] like brother’s old t-shirt,
tight in all the wrong places.
Better than                    [girl]
like brand, like scorch mark,
hand heavy on my hip.

What’cha coverin’ up for?
You’ve got such pretty curves. 

[Boy] like parking lot fist fight at 3am,
punch drunk and heady. [Girl] like
tooth knocked loose. I’m spitting
bone, crimson coated. 

Where’s my middle ground?

I was                       [woman]
once. Or something close.
Born into body like battlefield. 

Body like ruin. Body like
knuckles                        split,
[boy] dripping from the wounds—
[girl] unmade.

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