Four Poems by Claire Scott

Room Temperature Rage

your rage is room temperature she says, frowning
I have disappointed her again
a flat zombie without feelings
sitting glumly on her couch
picking at my nails, the scabs on my face
the ropey scars on my arms
wanting to talk about Mary Oliver or Mary Poppins
or even the virgin Mary who was raped by god
not my mother with a knife
not my father who pimped me out
simply a product of their upbringing
just like me not meaning to be cruel
nurture triumphing over nature
not their fault really, not really
she doesn’t buy it
explanations are not excuses
I sink deeper in the pillows

she doesn’t know that if Rage seeps
though the waterproof seal
picks the ancient lock
creeps out on taloned feet & bursts
the hush of her room, twirling blades,
long penis erect, expectant,
roaring threats & obscenities
that Rage’s final fury will cut &
carve me into severed strips of flesh
that even she with her PhD,
with her thirty years’ practice, that even she
will run screaming from the room

I leave a check on her desk
shuffle out the door, fingering
the pills deep in my pocket


At Eighty

webs stitched
with tar
nished moments
of light
spun with mum
bled strands
of prayer to
missing gods
less days
nights loop
my heart’s
tongue silent
my soul with
ered weight
less while
orphic wasps
hiss &
the ferry
man taps-taps
his time
worn foot
beside a bar
ren boat
my fur
rowed face
a thread of
light to
linger over
the little
that is


Leaves & Laughter

A clean slate.
No vodka in shampoo bottles
when visiting my children,
swigging & brushing with Gleem.
No sudden trips to Safeway
for chips or Cheetos,
bottles buried in the trunk.

                  Kids on swings & slides
                  high on being six seven eight.

                  A wine-red leaf
                  wafting in autumn air

I pass by The Alley
the clink of glasses
Eddie’s guffaw as he pours yet another
get a grip
Hazel wavering between keys
as Saxon pounds the piano.

No doubt
when I haul my hung-
over bones out of bed
tomorrow there will be
more children laughing
more wine-red leaves


Communion at The Church of the Good Shepherd circa 1952

I drank the blood of Christ every Sunday
wearing my church hat with its too-tight strap
my Mary Jane’s spit-shined with Kiwi
a pink chiffon dress that came past my knees &
chafed my chest as I knelt next to my sisters
drinking just a sip only a sip as the chalice was passed
eyes shining splendor
the blood of Christ that was shed for you

 I still do I still do only now an entire bottle
and not just on Sundays
no sacrament, no scriptures
I buy it at Walmart’s, a six buck Malbec
recommended by James Beard, god of good wine
probably not transubstantiated, but tastes terrific
warmth spreading through my sered bones
sometimes I murmur a prayer before I sip
for old time’s sake
forgive my sins that are
written across my forehead
scratched on my soul
then I pour another glass
for the child who grew up too fast
a priest’s hands wandering

Claire Scott is an award winning poet who has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. Her work has been accepted by the Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Enizagam, and Healing Muse among others. Claire is the author of Waiting to be Called and the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters’ Journey in Photography and Poetry.