Turning Point




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Sample Poems by Penelope Scambly Schott


Whose fault is the evil
done by mistake?

The bread of the dead
waltzes with weevils

When the fungus
brings us

the crust of madness,
we must trust

each ghost of a hope
the hopes of ghosts

The Outside World

goes on:
Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier

Viola visits Jean
the first gorilla is born in captivity

Viola moves into a retirement home
television is labeled a vast wasteland

my mother drives Viola to see Jean
my mother visits Jean alone

In the inside world
Jean asks for a plum lipstick

Jean asks for stick deodorant
Jean asks for a pass

 to go to the commissary
 for her necessaries

This is the joy in Jean's life:
to buy cigarettes     to drink a soda
to see the male patients       walking
and sometimes      looking 

at her
while Neil Armstrong walks on the moon

My mother visits Jean
on a terminal cancer ward

Jean dies unmemorialized
out of the eyes of men

and the outside world
that goes on and on

and on   Out of my eyes
who neither knew nor mourned

Year after Jean, Viola Finally Dies

I go to the retirement community
where Viola has a three-room apartment
with all her beautiful furniture

I bring my little girl: she speaks her poems
and Viola consumes her
and shows her Jean’s drawings

I go to the assisted living unit
Viola has a studio apartment
with some of her furniture

I bring my little girl: she sings her songs
and Viola devours her
and shows her Jean’s letters

I go to the nursing home
Viola has  a room
with a few of her pictures

I bring my little girl: she smiles her smile
and Viola gobbles it down
and shows her Jean’s photo

I go to the hospital
where Viola brings a bed
and I don’t bring my little girl

I go to the memorial
and speak the eulogy
to stranger

I never mention   Jean

Resurrection Lily

Witness the night-blooming cereus
It opens for just one night

mountain people
have leaping dances

people who live on flat land
do line dances

desperate people
dance in circles

the heart is drumming
the lost are coming

Witness the resurrection

After the leaves die back
a stalk rises from the earth

After the stalk rises
we all rise

to bring her back

into full flower
into full chance

so that all who are damaged
so that all who are lost

will return