Scott Waters

Scott Waters lives in Oakland, California with his wife and son.  He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.  Scott has published previously in Impspired, Main Street Rag, Better Than Starbucks, The Blue Nib, The Pacific Review, Loch Raven Review, Adelaide, A New Ulster, The Courtship of Winds, Scarlet Leaf Review, and many other journals.  Scott’s first chapbook, Arks, was published in 2021 by Selcouth Station, and his poem “I Could Be Anybody” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.


The one who stopped 
all the traffic is in his thirties, 
short red hair,

stands shirtless
in a pair of black gym shorts
atop the wire cage
of the pedestrian bridge
over the freeway,
like some great pale bird 
on the lip of an eyrie,

arms outstretched
beneath a sky as soft
and tattered blue
as the T-shirt he left behind
in his squalid nest 
an hour ago,

the breeze at his fingertips

summoning wings 


Friday before vacation
son reading 
at my side
the will to work drivels away

outside the first wildfire smoke
of the summer
casts Oakland
in a hazy yellow light

the Earth rolls itself
in a bed of virus
like a contented dog
with fleas

but nothing
sticks to me
except words like these—
shaken from my fingers 

onto the page.

A Death in Brooklyn

After getting fired
from my first job
at a trade magazine
for writing poetry
on company time

I began canvassing
for Greenpeace,
and moved into
a Brooklyn apartment
with three
fellow canvassers.

Every afternoon I drove 
a gang of us 
in a Greenpeace-owned
Pontiac station wagon
to the suburbs
of New York City--
Long Island, Westchester,
New Jersey, Connecticut--
and when the long evening
of canvassing
was over,
I parked the station wagon—
dubbed the White Whale —
on the street
outside the apartment,

forgetting all about
the small '73 Volkswagen
station wagon
my parents had given me
for college graduation.


The Volkswagen was teal,
had the engine in the rear
and a trunk in front,

where I packed my suitcase
and a few boxes of books
for the drive from Indiana
through Ohio, West Virginia,
Pennsylvania, and finally
to New Jersey,

where I got myself fired.


The editors didn't know
I was writing poetry
in my office.

They only knew
my articles on nursing topics
were poorly researched
and lacked depth.
They might have noticed
that I had a fire in my eyes,
but it was
the wrong kind of fire.


My Volkswagen sat for months
on the street
outside the apartment,
while I drove
the White Whale
for errands
and for evening after evening
of door slamming
and the occasional $20 check 
to save the whales and seal pups.

One day I went to start
the Volkswagen,
but the battery was dead.


A few weeks later
somebody broke a window.

I thought about 
getting the window fixed,
but I didn't have jumper cables,
and I didn't have much money.

The car sat.


The next day another window
was broken, and the day after
that, all the windows.

In another day
my Volkswagen was stripped
down to its chassis
and axles.

That night I snuck out
and removed the license plate,
registration slip
and insurance card,

leaving the blackened husk
of my graduation gift
to meet its fate
on the streets of Brooklyn.


Parents never bother to forgive you,
and if you ask them to,
they’ll always say

there's nothing to forgive.


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