ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Four Poems by Claire Scott


I rearrange memories        like furniture
                  until the room looks more inviting
                                    the wing chair moved to the window
                  the grey couch against the wall

Leah’s mother waiting        for us after school
                  with warm cookies and sweet tea
                                    morphs into my mother who stumbled gin
                  and opened cans of Dinty Moore Beef Stew

What about a woman        sipping a latte
                  not noticing the light turned red
                                    my son sideswiped in a crosswalk
                  years stolen by a twisted spine

I move this memory       like a chess piece
                  to before the tennis championship
                                    his team soaring to first place
                  his grin as wide as Montana

Sometimes memories resist
                  too rooted in time to remove
                                    like refractory dandelions

And the hands of my Sunday uncle
                  the lure of quarters        
                                    the shroud of shame

There must be a spray at Home Depot
                  that will make memories wither
                                    like Ortho Weed B-gon

Or perhaps a reset button like in bowling
                  ten pins lined up perfectly
                                    and you get to start again



Mirror Mirror
where did that collapsed chin
come from with its bristled hairs
that I swear weren’t there last week
what of those lacey spider veins
spreading like invasive weeds
so out of synch with my inner image
of an enticing woman with lustrous lips
and skin smooth as plastic wrap              
Mirror Mirror
I don’t expect to see Julia Roberts
or even Snow White
I don’t need to be the fairest of them all
googled by far flung fans
but for god’s sake
give me a break
who is this person in the mirror
who looks just like my mother



These days everything is branded .
My point being.  Even toddlers
in preschool post messages
on Instagram and TikTok,
along with Minion or Moana logos
and a tagline of Taking Off.

I mean think of poor old frazzled God
working 24/7 for millennia
without a paycheck. More and more
people to keep track of. More and more
people sporting AR-15s, vaping cocaine,
fracking and burning fossil fuels.

Do you know people are no longer
googling God? His website older
than Adam. Only two hits
last week, both from his son
who must have forgiven him
for that dreadful day in Golgatha.

What God needs
is a brand new brand
to spit shine his fading image.
Like maybe Hallelujah Last Stop
with a tagline of Got Jesus? Or even better,
You’re in Good Hands with God.

Then franchise to entice god wannabes
taking selfies on iPhones. Plenty
of folk to help market God. More
and more likes on Facebook. More
and more followers on Twitter.
My point being.  Maybe the Master
and his sheep will survive. Or
perhaps there is no point at all.



The earth is flat.
Flat as a postcard lost in the mail
addressee unknown.
Flat as the calendar on my desk.
Only a dentist appointment
this week and Dr. Daniels who will check
my blood pressure and insist
I stop drinking. But how else to dull
the days stretching like the Gobi desert
until I stagger blotto to bed.

The earth is flat.
Each day dittos the day before
like a progression of nuns
or a line of black ants
Not even a minor fender bender to diminish
the monotony. Not even a small trash fire,
engines roaring to relieve the silence.

My therapist thinks I am clinically depressed,
wants me to join SilverSneakers,
learn to play the bagpipes or take a bus tour,
sightseeing with forty last-leg seniors
wearing polyester pants,
looking at crumbling castles and statues
missing limbs.

My frantic daughter in Phoenix
called to say she booked a cabin
on the Santa Maria and we will sail
off to discover a new world
where depression withers in briny sea breezes.
Too young to know there is no point,
but fine with me to go along, to see if maybe
this flat world has a few round edges
where we don’t fall off.
As long as there is plenty of single malt scotch.

Claire Scott is an award winning poet who has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. Her work has appeared in 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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