The links in the list below lead to the poems on this page. You can click them or just scroll. Your choice.


Mama’s Day

So, called your Mama yet?

Called your Mama yet?
The woman that birthed you?
Had labor for 48hrs in a
snow storm/thunder storm/heat wave/insert-appropriate-cataclysm
while stuck in rush hour traffic?

Twice a year, maybe three,
Mama expects to hear from you.
Mother’s Day, her birthday,
and maybe at Christmas.

Called your Mama yet?
The one that picked you out
from all the others
on the orphanage list?

The one that waited
for the court to decide
who was your mama,
who was family.

Called your Mama yet?
the one that lived down the street
the one that you went to
with questions and problems

Called your Mama yet?
Both of them?
The woman that birthed you
and the woman that married her?

Mama – she who patched your booboo
she who said your clothes didn’t match
who said your hair was perfect
and that pimple didn’t show.

© 5/8/05 Paula Offutt

Winter’s Breath

Winter’s breath makes frost
on the fallen leaves
and the tip of my nose cold

Winter’s breath is crisp
clean and refreshing
yet without the minty taste

Winter’s breath blows down
the back of my neck
and up the sleeves of my coat

Winter’s breath is alone
wrapped in the silence
under the weight of the cold

But still I crave it
want it and wallow
in its solidarity

© 10/23/06 Paula Offutt


Christmas–the traditional,
not the secular–
has almost always been my fav’rite,
best time of my year.

Birthdays should be recognized.
Mine and yours and his,
the step-son of a plain carpenter
from simple Naz’reth.

Who cared he even born,
this hay-cradled babe?
Some did, from shepherds with their sheep to
star-reading magi.

All newborns look like odd frogs,
all wrinkled and splayed.
Did he? Was he squalling and squinting
from harsh lantern light?

Christmas has been mutated
insanity and
madness created by retail sales.
Such exploitation.

Some remember his birthday.
We might not read stars
nor ever guard sheep in fields at night
but care he was born.

© 12/2006 Paula Offutt

Sounds of Spring

Winter is hushed
but the smallest sound
is heard
as snow hits the ground
with a hiss.

The world around
me is so quiet
as if
all had gone to sleep
or gone south

But spring comes and
the noises return
so free
unrestrained and loud
and alive

© 2007 Paula Offutt

Smells of Spring

The smells of spring make me sneeze
The smells of spring make me wheeze
I sniff and I snot
From whatever allergen I’ve got
Hand me a Kleenex, would you please?

The smells of spring are in flavors
There’s pollen in the air, I wager
From brambles to trees
They all make me sneeze
The honk of my nose is in C major

The smells of spring, like mowed grass,
Are just pollen and histamines en masse.
They may all smell nice
And succeed to entice
But Mama Nature can shove them up her…

© 2007 Paula Offutt


He says “It’s good to see you standing!”
As if that is such a wonderful thing.
As if standing is, like, the thing to be.
If only he could be inside my head
inside my body
for just a few minutes
for just a few steps
just a few limps
a few stairs
a few stares.

I saw someone the other day
someone who knew me “before”
someone who probably wouldn’t
know the me I am now
the me surrounded by stuff
like braces and
like crutches
and medication
and fat.
Layers of insulation
and isolation.

It’s hard to walk like a swashbuckler
when it hurts to walk to begin with.
I’ve lost my butch swagger
my stance, feet planted
hands placed
grin goin’
rhythm to it all, ya know?
Where does it all fit
when the swashbuckler sits?

© 11/2013 Paula Offutt

Off To Sleep

What is it that scares me
when I close my eyes
is it the Dark
is it the lack of Control

What is it about sleep
that makes me resist
that I fight it
until exhausted I quit

I get ready for bed
but I keep finding
last minute things
acting like they are the last

last stroke of a dog’s head
last sip of water
last check of lights
last check of her breath and warmth

Mask on then machine on
adjust the pillows
scratch the itches
then wait at edge for the fall

Sleep’s a roller coaster
I am forced to ride
I hold on tight
shut my eyes and hope to wake

© 4/2015 Paula Offutt

Float in the Wind

Something came a rapping
A tip tap tapping
A scrape scraping
Upon my office window

“It’s just me” said the leaf
“A talking leaf!” exclaimed I
“Just for you” it said

Something came a rapping
A tip tap tapping
A scrape scraping
Upon my office window

“Still here” said the leaf
“You’re annoying” mumbled I
“Yeah well” it said

Something came a rapping
A tip tap —

“You again?” asked I
“Wind and spider web” ‘splained it
“Ah. You’re still annoying” stated I

Something came a —

“I’d like to be free” whispered it
“To float in the wind
Like I’m supposed to”
“You may not get far” stated I
“That’s not the point” whisper again

I set it free
I didn’t look to see
where the wind took it

Something came a flip flapping
A tip tapping
A scrape scraping
Upon my office window

“Oh, hey there” twirling paused
“A talking maple seed now.
Great” sighed I

“I want to be free.
To float in the wind
“Yeah yeah. Too late
for you to sprout.”

I set it free anyway.

Put on my coat.
Put on my shoes.
Took a broom.
And went outside.
Removed the spider web.

Nothing came a rap rapping
Or tip tapping
Or flip flapping
Or scrape scraping.

“I want to be free” whispered I
“To float in the wind
Going where it takes me”

© 11/2015 Paula Offutt


Sanity – that thin,
fragile thread stretched
between what is real
what is not.

Depression is
a dull knife,
at that thread

When in the pit
of despair
and pain
that thread holds

When I look up
and grasp it
and tug
that thread holds

When I pull
myself hand
over hand
over hand
that thread holds

My biggest fear
is that some day
that thread
won’t hold

And I’ll slip
deeper into the pit
and never
climb out

© 10/2017 Paula Offutt