Penelope Scambly Schott is the author of five chapbooks and eight full-length books of poetry. Her verse biography A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth received the 2008 Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Her most recent book, Crow Mercies (2010) was awarded the Sarah Lantz Memorial Award from Calyx Press. Penelope lives in Portland and teaches an annual poetry workshop in Dufur, Oregon.
Door at the End of the Hall
Each room where I took off my clothes
kept a wisp of my soul.
The word is journey as in day —
the days the bones traverse from place to place.
I tied back the white curtain with my fringed ribbon
and the streets came in: avenue, lane, interstate.
Then I kept walking, except for whenever I ran.
Now the dog and I are washing my hard feet.
Every song on the radio is about love,
but I'm about done.
Why I Need to Go to Mongolia
When crossing the Gobi desert, crouch
in the humped shadow of a Bactrian camel,
its saddlebags sloshing with melted glaciers
and dinosaur bones.
Whenever the desert wants a lizard,
follow scuff marks up the singing dune.
Notice, at sunset, how shadows flame blue
until all the stars
glow at the ends of your fingertips, huge
and immoderate stars —
even from here, I can feel those stars