“SUICIDE 1979”


by Tammy Robacker

That summer I chose suicide first—

The name of the drink where you mix a shot
of liquor from every bottle at the mini-bar,
because you don’t care what will happen.

That summer my parents broke up, we flipped
quarters to decide which one to live with.

That summer I realized my thighs
will always rub together
since the tread marks burned into me.

That summer of Flowers in the Attic
a book that confirmed
Cathy’s older brother began to molest.

That summer of birthday cake. At Debbie Smith’s
slumber party every girl shaved her legs
but me. All of them brown, vanilla, and pink-
kneed, new scoops of Neapolitan ice cream.

That summer they asked, Truth or Dare?
So I said, Dare me, and drank down a cup
of self-murder when given the choice,
then slept all night in my jeans.


Tammy Robacker graduated from the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program in Creative Writing, Poetry at Pacific Lutheran University (2016). She won the 2015 Keystone Chapbook Prize for her manuscript, “R”. Her second poetry book, Villain Songs, is forthcoming with ELJ Publications in Winter 2017. Tammy published her first collection of poetry, The Vicissitudes, in 2009 (Pearle Publications) with a generous TAIP grant award for poetry. Tammy‘s poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming in Alyss, Lumen, FRiGG, Tinderbox, Menacing Hedge, Chiron Review, Duende, So to Speak, Crab Creek Review, WomenArts, and many more. Tammy was born in Germany, raised in Pennsylvania, and currently lives in Oregon with her fiance. Visit the poet: tammyrobacker.com