Atheist and Not Now, Maybe Not Ever, 2 poems by Claire Rubin Scott

Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

At seven I stopped believing in Santa
after Mary Lou whispered to me
betrayed by adults
lured into an unreal world
I stopped believing in the tooth fairy
with her late night dimes, the Easter Bunny
with jelly beans and pastel eggs
and God
But I am not a good atheist
I slip into the back of Saint Anthony’s
some Wednesdays at noon and sit in
silence with the stained glass saints
I read Simone Weil, longing
for her unwavering faith
if we ask our Father for bread
he does not give us a stone
I find my hands in prayer
for hungry children, for
their exhausted mothers
holding signs on street corners
I see yellow crocus burst
through spring snow
I watch my grandson take his first steps
grinning with delight
and I know God is still in this world
even though I don’t believe

Not Now, Maybe Not Ever

We are riveted and repelled
a python is swallowing a squirming rabbit
the morning I take my son to the vivarium
to buy goldfish for his Garter snake
the snake can’t swallow the rabbit
and can’t cough it up
the snake might die says the salesgirl

Slip-sliding between bargaining and depression
I fumble through the stages of grief
no acceptance in sight
no serotonin hit of happiness
synapses refusing to fire
sputtering and fizzling since February

No way to go back to before
his Warriors cup unwashed, his glasses lost again,
his hand on my shoulder, his body warm against mine
no way to move forward toward meaning
in a world without

The Lord provides
fear not

Yesterday I caught myself praying to the microwave
let it not snow that night last February
and I won’t sneak cigarettes when I walk the dog

I hear sounds from far away
the drone of a leaf blower
the timpani of traffic
the ring on my phone set to ripples
and I don’t move
children shout beneath my window
you missed, you cheated, my turn

Where were you Lord that night
streets glazed with ice

I swallow the alphabet of pharmacology
Abilify, Effexor, Lamictal, Seroquel, Zoloft
like holy wafers with wine
never enough to ease the sting of forever

Lord let’s have a do-over where the snake
slithers away, the rabbit races across a grassy meadow
and there are no skid marks on black ice

Claire Scott
Claire Rubin Scott is an award winning poet who has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. Her work has appeared in the Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, New Ohio Review, Enizagam, and The Healing Muse, among others. Claire is the author of Waiting to be Called and Until I Couldn’t. She is the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters’ Journey in Photography and Poetry. Find more on her website,, and Facebook page,

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