ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Rose Mary Boehm

It was illegal then

We’d gone to the ‘angel maker’.
Now my friend is still, frozen,
her eyes dead windows.
The evening sun searched
through half-drawn lace curtains,
found her hair and died.

Her hands in her lap –
two lifeless animals.
She had not shifted, her face
an empty mirror turned inwards.

I lifted her onto the bed,
took off her clothes,
threw the blood-soaked pad
into the bucket. Wiped her
forehead, sponged her breasts—
full, hard, and erect,
getting ready to feed.

I eased her head into my lap
and rocked it gently with my pelvis,
making animal noises
of comfort and despair.


The importance of being there for someone

In slippers, shorts and vest. Watches
his team lose. His hands fly to his face,
move up, pull at his hair. Idiots!
My God, only two inches to the right!
He scratches his balls. Shuffles over
to the kitchen counter. Mum, no coffee.

Mum doesn’t hear his need. He swears,
burps and gets pissed off. He can see
her in the yard looking after the bloody
chickens. For a moment there he feels
passionate about his own survival.

Lacking the will and the skill for coffee
he falls back onto the couch. Shakes
one of the cans. Some beer’s left in one.
While they’re in half time, some chick
with two impressive fakes and an even
bigger fake smile is trying to sell some gadget
to get good abs. Won’t work for him.

Absent-mindedly he fondles his
expanding gut. Farts. He’s feeling good
again, even though Mum had mentioned
work. But he knows that there’s no way
he’ll be out all day leaving the poor
old dear running the farm all on her own.



Dark wings brushed her flailed flesh.
She felt her skin cut away
by a knife so sharp, so fine
it was invisible.

Invisible also were the
arthropods in the entrails
of her head, feeding
on the frontal lobe.

There were only moments
when the smeared window cleared.

Sometimes she swung
tick-tock, tock-tick, tick-tock
light to shade
shade to light
light to shade.


if only she could remember
whose they were.


Yesterday she was faster
than the whistle
of the passing train.


German-born, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and ‘Tangents’, a full-length poetry collection published in the UK in 2011, She’s three times winner of the Goodreads monthly competition. 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’, will be published by Chaffinch Press in 2020.

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