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Karen Scott
August 2022
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Karen Scott is a poet living in Columbus, Ohio.  She is a member/ supporter of Ohio Poetry Association (OPA), a past participant in the Women of Appalachia Project,  and a proud member of the SALON writing group.   

Some of her work has been published in Common Threads [annual OPA members anthology], Women Speak [Women of Appalachia anthology], Delirious: A Poetic Celebration of Prince (2016), the inaugural issue of the Northern Appalachia Review (2020), and the Quarantine Zine published by OPAWL.  Another poem was made into a broadside that can be found on



                "I've learned that the monsters ain't underneath the bed."   

                                                    - Eric Church / Jeff Hyde


The headline - 6 year old found dead after   

disappearing from front yard - validates my fears;

justifies years of not allowing my daughter

to play in our front yard, or roam

the neighborhood,

only letting her play in the backyard

if the dog or I were out there.

My fears fueled by the statistic that every 40 seconds

a child goes missing somewhere in the US.


I used to read King and Koontz, revel in horror and suspense

but the day I became a mother, that came to an end.

The first day I took my infant to a festival, I wondered

later that night, How many psychopaths have I exposed

her to today?


A true crime aficionado, I know

bright lights attract monsters more than

porch lights attract moths.

Monsters do not understand the light,

seek out the pure and innocent

to maim, defile, destroy.

And my daughter is a very bright light.

Souls gravitate toward her

like the dead gravitated to the little girl in Poltergeist.


There is a proverb that says

To be a mother is to have your heart forever

walk around outside your body.

We want to protect them from everything,

but can’t really protect them from anything, at any age.


No matter how old they get,

a monster is waiting…



I once saw an episode of the    Dr. Oz    show

A 700 pound woman accepted his challenge

To lose 100 pounds before he saw her again.

             She     lost     120

The psychologist noted the woman often made 

apology for the amount of space she occupied. 

I have been apologizing my whole life.

I avoid eating anything in public, on the street,

fearing the silent? criticism that someone as fat

as I would dare eat ice cream.


I lurk at edges of crowds rather than wading in.

I avoid the risk of bumping someone

and offending them with my presence.


When my lover/husband would sweep me off

my feet, it astounded me that he could or would do that.

I loved the lightness, the freedom

that loss of control could bring.

I have       stood for entire performances at 

cramped clubs rather than risk struggling to 

get to an empty seat 

in the middle of the room or wriggle 

into an uncomfortable bar stool 

when someone might be watching - and 



I plan         entrances, exits and     progress 

across a room, mapping the easiest path 

that will allow me to best avoid contact 

and possible offense to others.


I thought I was getting better at making no


For the space I take up until yesterday

When I got on the bus, took and aisle seat

Next to a woman, perched half on, half off the


legs partially in the aisle

to avoid “crowding”     her.


Old habits are the hardest to break.


*Scottish Gaelic for "My Apology"

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