Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

Two Poems
August 18, 2022 Edlow Cynthia Schwartzberg



For the second time, yet not the last, in this innocuous-much?
suburban hamlet, another set of unmasked-pandemic
neighbors I do not know have wigged and dialed the Town of G______
Police Department. On me—for sitting in my car, fully idled
at a STOP sign across the T junction street from their lamentable
junction-situated house. The day, graycast with water-bellied clouds
in a city familiar with nothing but no mercy sun. The rare drapery
of cloud cover allows shapes to step forward.
I sit transfixed by the emergence there in house shapes, yard
canvases, symphonic thorned foliage. I live one street north, two decades.
Who are you? Do you LIVE here? Say your name. You!
Your name. What are you doing. You’re scaring our children!

In quiet, like the good cowboys in the old Westerns, I watch
them. All wild air and arm movements. Minus one speck of charity.
A natural, if absurd, screenplay, yes. Their brown
Labrador, almost choking from the twisting
of their homemade rope leash. A gorgeous animal,
hardly frightened, more confused, the one individual
from their household behaving normally
is gasping for breath.
The husband’s hands at my driver’s side window
flutter about his wet mouth. The longer my silence
the more rapidly they convulse.
At home, leaning against my car in the garage, biding,
some long minutes pass before a patrol car inches
its way down the street to my cul-de-sac.
I watch the car turn toward me, an officer
lifts one hand in endorsement, drives back up the outlet.
There he stops, at a STOP sign,
idles his car at the curb, and I assume, fills out
rote electronic forms, hits “send,” then takes a right.
Under a raging sun, all colors eventually expose
their dilution. O, such masterful clouds today.




Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow is the author of the poetry collections Horn Section All Day Every Day, and The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor  (Salmon Poetry, 2018, and 2012, respectively), as well as the chapbook Old School Superhero Loves a Good Wristwatch (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). Honors include the Red Hen Press Poetry Award, the Tusculum Review Poetry Prize, Willow Review Prize for Poetry, a Beullah Rose/Smartish Pace Poetry Prize, and three Pushcart Prize nominations, two of which were from the Pushcart Prize Board of Contributing Editors.