Poetry by Penelope Scambly Schott

I Need a Poem with Horses in It

Let the mare with one white fetlock

wander over to the pasture fence.

I have no apple but here she comes

so I can rub her high smooth cheek.

Her brown muzzle touches my face

and her breath becomes my breath.

Daddy’s Jacket

When he came to visit, I’d hang it

on a wooden hanger in my closet.

The jacket felt so solid, even then.

Made of the best leather in Spain.

When my father died in his sleep

as an old man, I claimed his jacket.

I brought it to a fancy leather shop

where they shortened the sleeves.

The jacket had come to his waist.

On me it reaches down to the hips

but it still sort of fits. I wear it often.

Time after time I shove my hands

deep into the pockets. Nothing

of his. No hanky. Not a note. But

twenty-two years after his death

I’ve just found a tiny hidden pocket

inside the jacket. A breast pocket

directly over the heart. I won’t

slip two fingers into the narrow slit

and try to dig around. I won’t

take a flashlight and peek inside. 

I’ll just believe this secret pocket

is packed full with outrageous puns 

we used to share over breakfast,

the night we took turns getting up

to turn off a misbehaving alarm,

or one particular day I remember 

when I hugged him like a lover.

The Birth of Moses, alternate version

And the daughter of the Pharaoh

came down to wash herself 

at the river. (Exodus 2:5)

A woman in a river

is a body of water in a body of water.

Large-bellied beside water.

What else growing in that river?

Bulrushes and pickerelweed. You

say cattails. King James says bulrushes.

Pharaoh’s daughter swam with swans 

whose great black feet caught

in her untied hair. 

Whereupon the water delivered her baby.

Babe upon the Nile. 

Child of water.

And she called his name Moses 

because she drew him out of the river.

When did her water break?

Young mother of the waters.

There in the Nile. Among swans. 

Truth quick as water.

Woman in the river. In the water. 

As if water. This other old story.

Never told in the Book.

About the contributor

Penelope Scambly Schott
Penelope Scambly Schott, Oregon author of a novel and several books of poetry is recipient of The Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Several of her books and poems have won prizes. Her poems have appeared in APR, Georgia Review and Nimrod, among others. Penelope and her husband host a series of poetry readings called The White Dog Salon in Portland.

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