by Nancy Scott
Of these streets full of potholes, there’s more
than one where I’ve blown out my tires,
and knowing it, I blame the politicians,
who, always on the verge of losing
the next election, don’t care to make
my ride a smooth one. So many politicians
with no limits, who in this country have we,
unknowingly, said goodbye to for good?
As the next election nears, and claims,
counterclaims, and smears leave only
bitterness to savor, is there, perchance, just one
who will emerge and surprise us?
With a world in foreclosure, I find detours
at every intersection. Even the guy ahead of me,
turn signal wildly blinking, has a spare tire
mounted on his trunk.
The sturdy grey Corolla is, I fear, the last car
I will own. Not one road will miss us
that I’m sure, but I hear a newly paved one
runs past where the burning bushes bloom.
Nancy Scott (website) is the author of five books of poetry. The most recent (2011) is a chapbook of ekphrastic poems, On Location, published by March Street Press, and dedicated to her grandfather, who emigrated from Russia in 1907. The poems take a whirlwind voyage from Russia to Latin America to Afghanistan, Hungary, England and America. She is also the managing editor of U.S.1 Worksheets and an exhibiting artist. All of these achievements have come about since she retired in 2004.
by Nancy Scott
Nancy Scott (website) is the managing editor of U.S.1 Worksheets, the journal of the U.S.1 Poets’ Cooperative in New Jersey. She is also the author of four books of poetry. Recently, she began a foray into the art world by creating and exhibiting her collages in public venues and online.
by Nancy Scott
When Tomas boarded the rickety craft
in Mariel, deck swarming with strangers,
no life jackets, sun flirting
with incoming clouds, the teenager
already missed his girlfriend
pregnant with his child.
I’ll bring you both to America, he’d said
—words that haunt him still.
Decades later, in a neat bungalow
in South Amboy, Santeria candles burn
in a small shrine surrounded
with flowers. On the stove, pungent
arroz con pollo simmers.
Tomas explains after the boat landed,
he was forced to give up his passport;
in return, ten bucks and a bus ticket.
Stateless, no papers, he’s raised
three children born here—
their mother’s in prison.
Always one question away
from deportation, but to where?
Castro doesn’t want me either, he says,
and who would care for my children?
Tomas supports his family
in a shadow economy.
In his driveway, a derelict car
he’s fixing up to swap.
He shows me photos of a son
he’s never met—his first-born—
a captain in the Cuban army,
and another photo of his mother
cradling his only grandchild.
I pray to see my mother before she dies.
Author’s note: In the 1980s, 125,000 Cubans left from the port of Mariel in what was called the Freedom Flotilla.
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Nancy Scott (website) who is from Lawrenceville, New Jersey, is the author of two full-length books of poetry, Down to the Quick (2007) and One Stands Guard, One Sleeps (2009), both published by Plain View Press, and two chapbooks, A Siege of Raptors (Finishing Line Press, 2010) and Detours & Diversions (Main Street Rag, 2011). She is also the managing editor of U.S. 1 Worksheets, the journal of the U.S. 1 Poet’s Cooperative. She began her foray into the art world in 2010, and has begun exhibiting her work and publishing her collages online.
by Nancy Scott
A children’s operetta—Cromwell’s having
a go at King Charles I and the Cavaliers.
Open call; any child who shows up
gets to be in the production, which is lucky
for ten-year-old Michael because he has a tin ear.
That Saturday afternoon, two tiers of scaffolding
had been erected on the bare stage; my son,
flag bearer for the Crown, at the top.
I admire Michael’s enthusiasm
for his adopted history; through all the speech-
making, intrigue, betrayal, my American
child waves the King’s standard
as a rallying cry for a dying cause.
In the final scene, Michael freezes.
The spotlight catches him, a wide-eyed kid
in tattered red tunic, peering down,
mesmerized. It’s 1648 and the flag has slipped
from his grasp. It flutters onto the stage
and gets trampled in a melee of bugles and swords.
Why didn’t you come down for the curtain call?
I asked Michael on the ride home.
After I dropped the flag, he said, I was afraid
what the King’s soldiers would do to me.
Nancy Scott (website) is the current managing editor of U.S. 1 Worksheets, the journal of the U.S. 1 Poets’ Cooperative in New Jersey. She is the author of two books of poetry, Down to the Quick (2007) and One Stands Guard, One Sleeps (2009) published by Plain View Press, and a chapbook, A Siege of Raptors (2010) published by Finishing Line Press.