ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Claire Scott


Memory's Job

At night memory sweeps the floors and walkways
pushing a large broom, carrying a plastic bag
shoulders slouched, feet shuffling, eyes down
sorting through the day's detritus
tossing apple peels, egg shells, a hangnail,
the sound of traffic, the commercial for Subaru
starring and storing significant events
the neighbor's sour look, a child's first tooth
the email from a friend with somber news
all saved in dreams, remembered at dawn
for a day, for a year, forever
the graveyard shift belongs to memory


Hey Listen

I thought you knew
I mean when you saw me push food around my plate
gather up a forkful and then put it down
stir soup without tasting
barely sip a glass of juice
I thought you knew
when you saw my jeans sag, my face grow gaunt
my refrigerator with only a jar of Dijon
no shopping list on the counter
I thought you knew when he didn't come home
when all that is left is a plastic bag with a gold ring,
hearing aids and a hospital bracelet
I thought you knew
I have no hunger left


No Cure

Lord, there is no cure for being a person
I should know I have spent thousands
on therapy, pilates, yoga, ayahuasca, tai chi
I have played with prayer beads like an abacus
callouses covering my thumbs

I spent years as a forest monk
in Thailand living on roots and silence
and still I yell at cars that stop at yellow lights
and still I don't leave the house on Friday the thirteenth
and still I dream of skulls like lanterns

floating on brackish lakes
I try I do try to be kind to the Comcast agent who speaks
Swahili or maybe Hindustani, but I fail
and fail, raise my voice, speak faster
why can't these people learn English

tomorrow and tomorrow I will start anew
maybe learn a little Spanish or Mandarin
or make lasagna for old Mr. Packer
Lord, I am made of earthmeat, tied with tangled hope
there is no cure for being a person

Claire Scott is an award-winning poet who has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. Her work has been accepted by the Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, New Ohio Review, Enizagam and Healing Muse among others. Claire is the author of Waiting to be Called and Until I Couldn't. She is the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters' Journey in Photography and Poetry.

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