Penelope Scambly Schott

Anger Party

Ah, Anger, I should throw you
a party. There will be a bouncer,
with a buzz cut and lightning tattoos.

The guest list will be highly restricted.
Understanding and Forgiveness
will be turned away at the door.

Dear Anger, I’ve spent my whole life
preparing for this party. All those years
I kept mistaking you for grief—

the way you hid in my bed
or behind the eyes of my daughter.
Well, Anger, it’s time to step out in public

and enjoy your goddam badass party.
Claw your face, shoot up the place.
Nice job, Anger. How good did that feel?


The Woman with the Calcified Fetus

It happens. Really.
The fetus dies
but never exits the womb.
Half a century later.
Longer sometimes.
The doctors find it.
Sometimes during an autopsy.
Sometimes in the living old woman.
The perfect shape
of the unborn baby
but turned entirely to stone.

Hand me my stone baby.
I will wrap her
in soft flannel.
I will rock her in my arms.
My beloved rock.



The real part of me lives on a summer rock
with sleeping lizards.

I have always known that my soul has a tail
I can swish like a gauge

to measure the line from dark into daylight,
my whole animal soul

so insanely in love with this desert blue sky
that it slithers out

to bask just as long as our near star burns.

Author Portrait

Penelope Scambly Schott has sold cosmetics at Macy’s Herald Square, made donuts in a cider mill, written texts for career guidance software, bathed people as a home health aide, posed as an artist’s model, and, mostly, impersonated a literature professor. She has published a novel and several books of poetry. Her verse biography A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth received an Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Recent books include Crow Mercies, winner of the Sarah Lantz Memorial Award from Calyx; Lillie Was a Goddess, Lillie Was a Whore, a verse study of prostitution; Lovesong for Dufur, tribute to a small town in Central Oregon; and How I Became an Historian, poems of world and personal history. Wife, mother, grandmother, and dog person, Penelope lives in Portland and Dufur, Oregon, where she teaches an annual poetry workshop.