ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Three Poems by Rose Mary Boehm

PTSD Nights

Once liquid fire oozed like slow salamanders
down concrete stairs.
Grey machines dripped green liquid that ate metal, stone, wood
and flesh. Wolf-like creatures hurtled towards me, dragon
flames preceded their inevitable gaining on a small,
running figure that suddenly took flight
only to drop and slide into a gaping hole that would
close as soon as the creatures pushed through,
cutting them in half.

My viewpoint shifted. I fell into a bottomless rabbit hole
passing layers of Hundertwasser cities, forests
of Zhivulin chimneys and Miró worlds.

When the War was only a memory,
there were nights when the pits opened again.
I never knew whether I could trust the night,
whether I would survive or stay forever in a world
where living roots would wind their tentacles around my legs
and I cut, cut, cut into cold flesh.

PTSD has only recently been recognized and treated.
Still, as I age, I begin to partake in nightly tea parties
with ladies who wear bucket hats and righteousness.
Although the scene is peaceful enough,
I know better.


I’ll not die on a Thursday

So it may well be a Wednesday in subtropical winter,
in the bed we bought in Spain.
Wednesdays were reserved for lunches
with my friend. Out on the town, two old ladies
who laughed and klatched and spoke in tongues.
We made up sentences from at least
three languages. It was easier that way.

So I’ll die on a Wednesday, no rain (it doesn’t rain
in Lima), well, sometimes it piddles a bit.
And my love will look after me, and my children
will be a little sad. I think they will. Suddenly
it’s for real. But they haven’t had their mother
for many years now. Not near, anyway.
One gets used to being alone.

And I’ll stay in Peru, in the ceja de la selva,
in the rainforest. I’ll have big friends. I’ll be a tree,
my ashes fertilizing new growth. He promised
I’d be a capirona: tall, strong, gorgeous.
Just what I always wanted.

And I’ll remain of this earth. My spirit,
witnessing my growth, will rustle my leaves.


Beauty Queen

They’d brought her in from the mall.
Caught in the act. Soliciting.
Short skirt, no knickers. Flying high.
In that ravaged, over-aged Barbie face
there was a big pool of emptiness.
Her yellow hair hard, broken, split. Just like
her nails, which showed some purple stains.

Name was Jasmine.
Big blue eyes folding deep into
angry sockets, black eyebrows
painted with unsteady hands,
dark-red smeared lips pulled into a
permanent pout. Two teeth missing.

She sat at the other side of the metal
table in the small interrogation room.
Her smile made him shudder.
With the high voice of a little girl
she turned to him in her funk:
'I’m a beauty queen, you know.
Mummy will be cross with you.
I had breast implants – wannasee?'
When she began to fumble
with the buttons of her top
he growled at her, and she let
her hands fall back onto the table.
'I have such a nice bedroom.
All pink and baby blue.
Daddy loves me special. He always
says not to tell. Especially Mummy.
You wannabe my daddy?'
He was still retching when
they let her go.


Author Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. Her fourth poetry collection, THE RAIN GIRL, was published in 2020. Her sixth, DO OCEANS HAVE UNDERWATER BORDERS, has just been snapped up by Kelsay Books, earmarked for publishing May/June 2022. Her website:

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