or a reckless moment of indecision,
she’s neither a man nor a woman.
In our Victoria’s Secret world
she’s a nightmare—heavy brow,
ample breasts, and paw-like hands.
With these hands, she builds ship models
with popsicle sticks, tying
intricate knots, fully-rigged sails.
She explains it takes months to finish
a ship, paint and lacquer it, making sure
all the riggings are exactly right.
Suddenly her fingers are nimble and lithe.
It isn’t a man or woman I see
but the mainsail taut in a steady wind.
First published in Slipstream, 2004 and in author’s book, Down to the Quick (Plain View Press, 2009)
Nancy Scott is the managing editor of U.S.1 Worksheets, the journal of the U.S.1 Poets’ Cooperative in New Jersey. She is the author of five books of poetry: Down to the Quick (Plain View Press, 2007), One Stands Guard, One Sleeps (Plain View Press, 2009), A Siege of Raptors (Finishing Line Press, 2010), Detours & Diversions (Main Street Rag, 2011), and On Location (March Street Press, 2011). Her poetry has appeared in more than 100 different journals, most recently in Slant, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Raven Chronicles, The Copperfield Review and Verse Wisconsin. She began writing poetry as a way to record the stories she had heard during more than 35 years as a caseworker for the State of New Jersey and an advocate in the non-profit sector for abused and neglected children and for homeless families. She is also an adoptive parent and a former foster parent. www.nancyscott.net