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Friday, November 12, 2021


by Penelope Scambly Schott

Source: Photos Public Domain

Nothing new.

Eleventh hour of the eleventh day
of the eleventh month, the end
of World War One. I was eleven
and stood with my young mother
in that railroad car on the siding
where back in 1918 they signed
the Armistice.

I was twenty-one, a new mother
scarcely able to mother myself,
that November twenty-second
when JFK was murdered. This
November I expect nothing, not
peace or murder, birth or death.
I should go outside and rake up
my fallen leaves.

I’ll stand under the cottonwood.
I’ll rake and rake and rake and
stuff leaves into a sack. Every
leaf is yellow or brown. My bag
will keep wanting to tilt over. I
won’t let it. I won’t let it. I won’t
let it.

Penelope Scambly Schott is a past recipient of the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Her newest book is On Dufur Hill, poems about the cycle of the year in a small wheat-growing town.