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 https://poetrysuperhighway.com.
"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
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"