Revelation, Claire Scott

Charles Hood, Frozen Sidewalk




I have been waiting well over an hour
worried not about the test itself, but the results
my bones thinning rapidly, fracture risk
fifty percent in the next two weeks
broken hip, walker, wheelchair, Sunset Gardens
people slobbering in threadbare nightgowns
stained with toothpaste and spaghetti sauce
forgetting the name for salt, for shoe
a slippery slope to incineration, smoke wafting
from the furnace of Chapel of the Chimes
I am trying to read From Panic to Power
practicing six second exhalations

But the woman across from me
is shouting into her cell
she is wearing a pink knit cap
that shrouds her head and looks ridiculous
she is here alone, like me
she continues to yell, hunched over her phone
I offer my best glare
I ramp it up to an evil eye
I cough conspicuously

I am working my way into a foul mood
a real head of steam, like a major storm
ripping across Wyoming or Alaska
who does she think she is
taking up all the space in the room
like a thick-skinned pachyderm
I slam my book shut with a noteworthy
clap of thunder
in the sudden quiet
I hear her say chemo and stage four
and everything shifts
like colored glass in a kaleidoscope

Claire Scott


Review by Marc Janssen

What first grabbed my attention about Claire’s poem is the alliteration. From the first line’s “waiting well” to the last’s “colored…kaleidoscope” it is a pleasure to read these verses that tell a painful story. So interesting that this story which is difficult can be so playfully told. In the second stanza, indenting “nothing” is a stroke of genius. As I read the poem I know exactly what to do with those lines. It slows the reading, make an emphasis the frustration of the writer. I very much like that the form of the poem matches its function. 


Review by Paul Jones

There is no place more likely to make you tense and lonely than a doctor’s waiting room. There, one’s patience with everything is strained. Claire Scott does a wonderful job of evoking that set of feelings. But more, she lets us see how only overhearing three words, “chemo” and “stage four,” can change anger to empathy. A pleasant surprise and revelation.




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