ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Three Poems by Rose Mary Boehm



I am the only one whose breasts
are still two hard lumps.
And they hurt.
But I have a woman's legs,
round hips and a huge behind.
Yesterday in church 
a boy pinched it.



When my son was still young
and immortal, he wanted to die
to find out what it's like.

The son of friends jumped
from a railway bridge. 
His parents have never forgiven
him for preferring death.

Once, when I was tired, I sat down
on a bench at midnight, watching
the Atlantic trying to squeeze
in between Scylla and Charybdis,
foaming white with fury.

Yesterday my friend confessed
she wants to live forever,
but looking up that night I saw
an improbable sky, black and
unforgiving. The roaring waves

deafened me to doubt and anger.
I almost couldn't resist the pull.


Element 79
gold is one of Peru's major exports

A phalanx of red ants 
on the multi-hued bark. Scarlet,
golden, orange skies falling
into black nights. Moments
when the earth itself 
offers no aegis. Deep rifts
created over sixty million years ago
by giants which lifted and folded
sedimentary rocks.
Five thousand meters high,
five thousand meters deep. 

Sea, desert, bland, sand, dry, high, 
snow and ice, lush, green, full
and moist, brown rivers submerging
all, subjugating rocks and earth. Death
the bed for constant renewal. Pleura.

Just as Midas' power flowed into the river Pactolus,
gold settled in Peru's rocks and river sands.
And Midas' alchemy again touches the waters,
the earth, and the people whose children drink mercury
and bathe in nitro-hydrochloric acid.


A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of 'Tangents', a full-length poetry collection published in the UK in 2010/2011, her work has been widely published in US poetry journals (online and print). She was three times winner of the now defunct Goodreads monthly competition. There were other prizes. Recent poetry collections: 'From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949: A Child's Journey' and 'Peru Blues or Lady Gaga Won't Be Back'. Her latest full-length poetry MS, 'The Rain Girl', has been accepted for publication in June 2020 by Blue Nib.

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