Claire Scott

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            a movement disorder in which muscles
            contract uncontrollably

Like a deep sea diver    he drifts downward
then surfaces   groggy    wincing    stumbling the hallways   

swaying onto walls     spine torqued and twisted
till he can sleep again    in the easy swell

of Oxycontin    before morning signals    another day   
stretching waterless    his laptop droning

dull B movies    praying for sweet relief   
for more green pills    he who no longer prays    not since

the car    the crosswalk    the red light   the woman texting
not since sirens    splayed his life  

a frayed smile    at the cheese omelette    untouched
plates rinsed and stacked until time for supper

I look out past tears    the yellow rays   
of spring daffodils     the jays jabbering in the maple

I see his grey face    ghosted by a silver Honda
his pleading eyes     blue like mine

in the thin silence I pray    if you have a drop
of mercy left O Lord    don’t let him drown

Eggplant Prayer

Cooks know to salt eggplant before cooking,
removing the bitterness so the ratatouille or pasta
is savory, flavored with fresh herbs & garden tomatoes.

Gathering with friends & family for an easy supper
of eggplant parmesan, slightly crisp on top,
the woody smell of basil and melted mozzarella.

Sharing Pinot and stories of the past, wiping mouths
on paper napkins, refilling glasses, while children
chase lightening bugs on the late summer lawn.

What of my son hit by a car, walking with a twisted
limp, unable to work, eking out an existence on SSRI’s &
Oxycontin, while his friends play tennis & salsa dance.

What of my son sleeping sleepless on tangled sheets
no children in his future poking elbows, kicking feet
under a table laden with eggplant lasagna.

Lord, let there be enough salt in the sea
to leach the bitterness from my heart.

First Snow. New Boots.

One boot sinks into the snow. He watches. Waits a moment. Then slowly steps
with the other boot. Which sinks into the snow. He does it again. And again.

I watch the video of my grandson three thousand COVID miles away. I haven’t seen
him for ten months. This little boy who was never meant to be, whose mother
was told she couldn’t have children, who has brought wonder and delight to my son
and his wife, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, who pulled me
by the finger into his room and shut the door so we could play alone, who now speaks
some words and adores his school, who eats only orange food, who wants what he
wants Right Now, who loves Thomas trains and Sesame Street, who is a mischief
maker and cheats at games, who has a giggle that would melt the harshest heart,
who read a whole sentence last week,

This miracle child with an impish grin has found the secret of life at the age of five.
Stay present. One step at a time.


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, 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.