A Small Wooden Box

dated with death sits on my mantel
          it has been there for twenty-two years

I keep meaning to scatter her ashes in the park or on the street
          or simply toss them in the trash

but I continue to continue to keep them on the mantle
          next to photos of my children she rarely visited

next to my award-winning book she never read
          next to the translucent scallop shells we collected in Bali

the cousins romping on the beach, rollicking in the surf
          she cancelling at the last minute: too busy, too tired

always, always promising to visit, to read, to join
          & I believed her & believed her

I made up her bed, I mailed her my book, I bought her
          special suntan lotion for the tropics

maybe I keep the small wooden box as a reminder that
         dead mothers don’t disappoint



About the Author: 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, Enzagam 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.