Detours & Diversions

Nancy Scott - Detours & Diversions
4 a.m. I’m scrubbing pots while big eyes\
of children stare at me from the TV
and an old huckster tries to guilt me
into donating money that will never find
its way to feed those hungry children.
Just me and the street light streaming
through the window, until the thunk
on the driveway, and I can’t make up
my mind whether to go outside
and get the paper, like who else would be
out there except the delivery boy,
and he’s long gone, no stray dog to sniff
me either, not at this time of day or night,
which is it? I make a cup of tea, settle in,
and watch a paid ad for state-of-the-art
vacuum cleaners and another for a chair
contraption guaranteed to resculpt my body
in six weeks—fat chance—although
who throws money at ads if there are no
likely buyers? I must not be the only one
with eyes propped open, and it’s cold,
not May yet, I want to turn up the heat,
but don’t, because I should be upstairs
under the quilt, at least pretending to sleep,
make that old rooster earn his keep.

Dumping the Emu

from a MSNBC news report, 2009

Here’s something to think about if you travel
through Mississippi. Make a wide swath
around errant emus. Leave their capture
to law enforcement from the city of Forest.
They’ll come with Tasers and handcuffs.
Imagine an emu, one of the few flightless birds
on this planet, handcuffed and taken into custody.
The Yuwaalaraay believe that the sun
was created when someone threw an emu egg
into the sky; others insist dusty lanes
in the Milky Way are a giant emu.
The female of the species is notorious.
She’ll leave a dozen eggs to one male,
who turns them over in the nest at least ten times
a day for weeks, then cares for her chicks,
while she seduces the next fool.
No wonder there’s a half-crazed emu dodging
traffic on Interstate 20.

Ordering Information

CHARTING HER OWN COURSE, interview in the Lawrenceville Patch, 2010

To enter Nancy Scott’s Detours & Diversions is to enter a world full of paths that lead to unexpected places. Relationships go awry in surprising ways, chance meetings of strangers become oddly significant, memories may or may not be reliable. This is a book of riveting stories—sad, funny, offbeat, wry—told by a variety of narrative voices. They invite us to “Imagine an emu, one of the few flightless birds/ on this planet, handcuffed and taken into custody,” or to feel what it’s like when your name is no longer familiar. A dishwasher substitutes for a child, art is edible, when old friends talk, “words turn too rich, like eating the last crème puff when you’re full up.” Metaphors, used judiciously, add to the surprise: “a blitz of flashbulbs,” “a tirade of lightning.” Nancy Scott’s new book takes the reader on a delightful, sometimes dizzying, trip to unanticipated destinations.

Betty Bonham Lies, a Distinguished Teaching Artist for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and author of The Day After I Drowned (Word Tech Publications, 2010)

Copyright Nancy Scott, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-59948-299-6, 44 pages, Main Street Publishing Company, Charlotte, NC.