by Claire Scott



THEY TAUGHT US TO PRAY mother to our lord
jesus for strength mother to refuse

the call of gin of vodka of vicodin
to call our sponsor eat three

meals a day fresh berries mother
& broccoli walk a mile each morning

keep a gratitude journal mother
mine is empty

slaps & screams red welts under sweaters

midnight visitors mother
to keep money coming to keep me in needles

& crystal meth

I pour another glass, fill a syringe &
still I see too clearly

can you call me back mother back

into your eyeless womb


fourteen hours later

here I am at 201 Lodge Court

Worchester, Massachusetts

a purple Lexus parked outside

I notice the lawn is yellow

the apple trees I planted last

spring—shriveled sticks

Gladys greets me full of good cheer


smiling her two gold teeth

drawing me to her ample chest

I notice her ring—an oval diamond

three sapphires flashing

my mother in bed—IV dripping,

pale face, matted hair, nightgown

stained with last night’s

soup or pasta

I notice she is no longer wearing

her wedding rings

I lean over to kiss her

she whispers help

Photo credit: Hannah Ensor

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. 


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