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Claire Scott


Gummies, Ambien, Melatonin, Lunesta

no alcohol whatsoever (Nyquil is cheating)

eating sea slug entrails, lathering my hair

in a mixture of mustard and mayonnaise

rubbing the ear wax of a dog on my left foot

reading Moby-Dick aloud, especially the part

about the skull shapes of sperm whales

I‘ve tried them all

and here I am at 3 am wide awake

worried about being too exhausted tomorrow

forgetting my lecture on the importance of fleaworts

my mouth flapping nonsense

maybe the Alka-Seltzer jingle

plop plop fizz fizz

or sometimes you feel like a nut

brought to you by Almond Joy

Looking like a fool

being fired of course

living on the streets

eating slobbered-on burgers from dumpsters

fighting sea gulls for soggy fries

sharing cigarette butts with Hazel

who insists she is a saint, babbling prayers

in Hebrew or Aramaic or ancient Greek

the space between me and my former life

growing wider like a train pulling out of a station

I wave goodbye, flapping a virtual handkerchief

to the corporate life with its onerous hours,

hideous high heels and budget-blowing suits

I settle down under my cardboard roof

next to Hazel who is snoring and dreaming

of performing miracles like water to wine

or multiplying sour dough loaves and Bluefin tuna

or raising her long dead grandmother

who is tucked into the box beside her

not the easiest environment for sure

but I sleep soundly


I love airports

everything about them

the reassuring

do not leave your luggage unattended

repeated like a mantra

the total absence of clocks

yes, even the hard plastic chairs

that keep you from falling asleep

so you can read Louise Erdrich for hours

savoring the ghost haunting a bookstore

or look out at the Septembered sky

with its flashes of orange and pink

before the wool moon rises

or watch toddlers escape in a flurry of giggles

frenzied mothers following

no way to clean the oven, pay Comcast

or wash the stack of clothes

that stares at you reproachfully

no way to weed crabgrass or cook coq au vin

for your wearisome neighbors

(slugging most of the wine)

no way to buy useless birthday presents

another sweater no one wants or needs

final boarding call for flight 86 to Rome

mercifully not my flight

I drift down to Starbucks

for a peppermint latte

and a slice of lemon bread

passing the board on the way back

hoping my flight is delayed

Full Circle

to my mother

I didn’t have to climb out on the roof

& slide down the drain pipe or clamber

through the bony arms of the old oak

risking falling, fracturing

I didn’t have to wait until one a.m. when you finally

put On the Road aside & turned out the light

I didn’t keep a boy waiting for hours

in the shadows of the driveway

hopping from one foot to the other

I walked out the front door at exactly nine,

knowing you were out cold, bottles at your side

eager to see the boy who adores me

with a bright love like I have never known

& tonight I just might let him have his way

the way you warned me happened to you

sixteen years ago

the seed who became me

who spoiled all your dreams


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 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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