Claire Scott

First Socks Then Shoes

Cryptic stickies on the bathroom mirror
Aricept, Sausages, Sarah’s Birthday
who the hell is Sarah

intergalactic messages from Andromeda or Centaurus

yet the handwriting strangely familiar
the odd formation of “a,” first a circle then the tail
not at all the way we were taught in kindergarten

by Miss Mikelsen of the smelly underarms
my throat tightens, my stomach seizes
I read and reread the messages

hoping something will click
like that piece of shiny metal
you use to start a car

and my life will lurch forward
off to buy the perfect neck thing for Sarah
who must be a neighbor or a second cousin

find the fattish sausages whose name
starts with an “a” or a “c”
remember Aricept is a spice

but nothing
no flash of recognition
stickies still staring, mocking

I slide to the floor
put my head on the bathtub
and slip away

to a world forever and ever
without nouns



An old lady parched & papery
as the empty wasp nest
in her backyard
ghosting her way on her walker

wearing two sweaters and a wool cap
pulled over lank grey hair
taking an hour to reach Saul’s groceries
buying Lipton tea, cottage cheese, chicken soup
inching, inching home

to sit by the window till supper
       imagining the birth of
a daughter and then a son
seven grandchildren who visited each summer

her eyes soften as she sees them
shout, shove, swagger,
skip, snitch, steal, spin
some curl in her bed pleading for another story

some bring seashells and beach glass
faces flushed with salt-filled wind
they want cookies, card games, cartoons
mischievous, marvelous, miraculous

she sighs and closes her eyes as
       images dim and disappear

her son a monk in Japan
bald head and Buddhist robes
chanting mantras in a darkened zendo

her daughter researching coral reefs
off the coast of New Caledonia
       snorkeling in marine-rich lagoons

neither home in years
no marriages, no grandchildren
nostalgia for what never was

a trace of a smile lights
her withered face
wasps whisper in her ear

Author Portrait

Claire Scott is an award winning poet who has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. Her work has been accepted by the Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Healing Muse and Vine Leaves Literary Journal, among others. Her first book of poetry, Waiting to be Called, was published in 2015. She is the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters’ Journey in Photography and Poetry.