Claire Scott

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Artwork by Gene McCormick

Left Unsaid

My manicurist up’d and left
one drizzled day last March I remember
the scribbled sign on her door
           OFF TO MISOURRI
no forwarding address
my fingernails ragged & chipped
my toenails an eerie green

each Tuesday I sat opposite her
she smelled of lilac in the spring
my hands on her table
my feet in warm water
behind her a shelf of rainbow bottles
china glaze, girly grunge, daring damsel
all wearing black top hats
I imagined at night they broke loose
high-stepping to can-can music
            It’s All Right With Me

she held my hand as she worked on my cuticles
gently removing dead skin
nails shaped to oval perfection, painted
russian roulette, mesmerized
she massaged my feet with rosewood cream
softening coarse skin
holding each foot in her lap, gazing at me
the pulse of my heart
through supersized dark glasses
as though she wanted to share 
some knotted secret

I remember her long sleeves on sweltered days
I left a rose on her counter
I remember thick makeup didn’t cover bruises
on her smooth brown skin
that I wanted to touch
I see the bottles whirling through her salon
           Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)
saucy heart dancing with seduce me
top hats in hand

Fractured Lament

O Lord I live downwind from disaster
have you turned away
you who are meant to watch over me
counting the hairs on my head every Friday
preparing a place for me in a celestial condo
with a cantilevered swimming pool
am I paying for a past life as a child molester
O lion Lord of my soul
or did I dismember my mother marinate
her heart in the vinegar of your agony
O arthritic spine O crumpled bills &
alarming messages from MasterCard
O my ex who left screaming
           you frowzy fuckhead
when I simply gave her a bit of a shove
or perhaps a more serious push who wouldn’t
when she said I was a losel living on vodka
O blown-out candle of my shriveled life O
neighbor complaining about my crabgrass
& silver-haired dandelions
my scabby cats mutilating his birds, finch &
junco feathers fluttering on his manicured lawn
O Lord can you shift this sinister wind
so I can get back on my O so bunioned
feet & hobble to Kelly’s Temp Agency
by way of Saul’s Last Stop
for an O so needed Smirnoff
just this last once dear Lord dear lion then
I will say hail Marys, burn incense
kneel on a carpet five times a day
whatever turns you toward this lost lamb
whatever turns
just let me know


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, New Ohio Review, Enizagam 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.