ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Rose Mary Boehm

Invisible Arms Around my Neck

Never really got to know you because
you left too early. Never saw you,
except with my heart’s eyes. Still,
I loved you as I did the others. And ever since
I began to bleed, you’ve been with me,
in my heart, in my flesh. I will always
think of you as my second child.


Old Knowledge

Palm fronds in the chubby hands
of kids in white vestments.
Exotic leaves
meant to protect me from the northern dark.

My husband’s sister
pins the nazar to my children’s vests.
Warding off
the evil eye.

Voices cross the world.
Hand of Fatima.

The ofuda is pretty, I tell
my Japanese neighbor.
She attaches a piece
of decorated wood
to my door.

The wind chimes tinkle icicles.
Frozen hawthorne.

Make me a cross
from the rowan tree.
Tie it with a red ribbon.

Celtic woman made from rowan.
Runes carved from rowan.
Thor saved by the rowan.
Each berry a pentagram.

Our dead circle the house
caroling songs of the roots.


Sunsets on Mars are Blue

Scientists have just possibly found a medicine
that slows the development of Alzheimer’s.
They are working on a vaccine against HIV.
Astronomers capture radio signals
from a distant galaxy.
The Russians are getting a space craft ready
on a rocket of some major proportions
to rescue two astronauts from the stricken
space station. SpaceX plans to use the Starship
to fly a Japanese businessman around the moon.
Oh, and several artists too. Wonder who.
We’ll soon be sending settlers to Mars.
They’ll be sitting on their porches contemplating
the Martian sunsets.
Meanwhile, concerned citizens are afraid of people
who doubt the gender they were assigned at birth,
afraid of people who love
their own gender.
Deny that slaves ever existed.
Burn books.
Idolize the Golden Calf and then some.
The honorable justices of their so-called Supreme Court
are denying women control of their bodies
and possibly would like, as a next step,
to forge a bond with the clergy of Iran who condemn
to death by hanging any woman who shows her hair,
or with Afghanistan’s Taliban
who deny women the right to education,
independent movement, and even Kabul’s
female mannequins are masked and hooded.
While sunsets on Mars are Blue.

Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru, author of two novels as well as seven poetry collections. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. Her latest: DO OCEANS HAVE UNDERWATER BORDERS? (Kelsay Books, July 2022), WHISTLING IN THE DARK (Ciberwit, July 2022), and SAUDADE (Kelsay Books, December 2022) are available on Amazon.

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