What does it mean
to be in the parking lot—
a bending weed under ocean—
retrieving a bag of frozen peas
from the ground, and then
divorced from life—
forced into a new marriage
where mystery has carved “CROATOAN”
into a tree? Now, she is Stonehenge;
a group of lonely stones
thrusting history into sky.
She said, she said, she said,
it will not happen to me,
but there are hundreds of victims a year,
predators hiding in bushes—
invisible as wind—six foot seven dog catchers—
nets, raised guillotines.
Silly to face the needle all life long
and not know it, wagging a happy tail
till the death serum stops the wag
mid-beat. The peas slip from her hand,
fall onto black,
rattle their tale to the melting tar.
She never saw him coming.
The dog catcher hauls her off
leaving the trunk open, driver’s seat empty,
and her purse—
a spilled drink—
all over the shivering ground.
— Tamara Oakman
Tamara Oakman’s work has appeared in such magazines as Many Mountains Moving, Philadelphia Stories and Best of Anthology, Mad Poets Review, Fox Chase Review and other online and print magazines. Her work is forthcoming in Certain Circuits Magazine. She has awards in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama, and performs her work in the Philadelphia and tristate areas. She has a B.A. in English and Writing Certificate from Temple University, and an M.A. in English from Arcadia University. She studied the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Anne Sexton at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center in Boston, Mass., during two graduate-level independent studies in which she lived in the poet’s space, and interviewed friends and colleagues—including poet Maxine Kumin—culminating in a 40-page article about her journey, blended with a critical analysis of Sexton’s work. In addition, she gave a lecture and Q&A on Sexton’s biography and work in the Jubilant Thicket Literary Series. She studied fiction in Umbria, Italy, with tours of Bevagna, Spello, Assisi, Spoleto, Montefalco, and Rome. She has hosted, created, and organized many events, series, workshops, and festivals in Philadelphia, including the Light of Unity Festival, In Celebration of Women, and the Philadelphia Poetry Festival. She has been a judge for the Hidden River Arts fiction and drama contest, the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference poetry contest, and the Montgomery County Poet Laureate poetry contest, and she will be judging the Many Mountains Moving poetry book contest. She is cofounder and executive editor of APIARYmagazine. She loves and teaches in Philadelphia.