To be crossing Webster on
Sunday at 11:27, swinging
a Wilson tennis racquet
thinking of the tournament
his new topspin serve

at the exact second a woman,
distracted, texting, worried about
her heroin daughter who didn’t
come home last night,
runs the red light

The unluck of it all
the cold bleak lack of luck
like a calving iceberg severed
into before and after
or a blizzard obliterating
the first fragile crocus

says the young doctor, who has pimples
and looks too young to shave
painful, progressive, incurable
he turns away in the silence
not what he signed up for
not a success story
with smiling patients

Only the tiny waiting room
at John Muir, only my fingers
clenching and unclenching
nails digging into palms
I see a battle of bladed
days in his future
night-tossed spasms
of a hip, a shoulder, a wrist
and here I am four drinks past seven
at Gil’s Bar and Grill
grabbing a handful of god
from a bowl of pretzels
whispering a prayer
for my son, who was simply
crossing the street that afternoon
simply wanting to win the LA
County annual tournament
may he stay alive
no that’s not it
may he want to stay alive

Claire Scott, an award-winning poet, has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. Her work appears in Atlanta Review and Bellevue Literary Review, among others. Claire is author of Waiting to be Called and Until I Couldn’t. She is the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters’ Journey in Photography and Poetry.