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Land I Did Not Own by Jeanne Scroggs

I know the house where he doesn’t come home, the breathless wait for sunrise, its promise neglect, known emptiness as the world renews, left pulsing at midnight as a clock never moves

He has passed out drunk in his brother’s bedroom and O I have come stealthy to that bed, invisible as his family murmurs of  other things, and placed his inert arm over me in mock love while our baby kicked in my taut stomach, his father unaware of a moment I still cherish, forever wrapped in that dead arm, indifference pooled like blood around my heart as though to drown.

But I can swim

Still, in these years beyond the horror of crawling, craven grief, the endless cigarettes and tricks of mind to keep on going, I am yet waiting with that dead arm draped on me, forever claiming land I did not own.

Jeanne Scroggs is a poet, essayist, and artist-in-training currently residing in Winterset, IA with her husband Rich. Her poems have previously been published in Literary Iowa.
She can be reached at