2018 Winter Poetry Winner “Unexcused Absence” by Claire Scott



Monday morning and you are not here.

Another “F” joins the parade

of “F’s” across Miss Nichols’ notebook.

You are off catching pollywogs

in the stream behind the school,

sneaking into matinees, sitting

next to men with bourbon breath.


Our hands touched by chance

in the dark theater of Audrey

Hepburn and Gary Cooper.

Sparks shot up my arm.

I didn’t wash for weeks,

savoring the scent of your skin.


Monday morning and you are not here

in Charles River Church.

I circled the notice in the newspaper,

learned your heart was weak.

Strangers are speaking of you:

good Father, loving husband,

generous friend.


I drift away.

My hand touches yours

and we are twelve again,

skipping school, watching

Love in the Afternoon.



Claire Scott is an award winning poet who has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. 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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