Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

April 24, 2016 Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow



to be Wilser Lopez. So be Wilser Lopez
so be paralyzed, knee-deep in tangled scrub, shotgun safety on
red for fire. Wilser, your patience has
no patience for your trembling. Your trembling makes
the forestock of the shotgun unhappy. The Guatemalan
anaconda against the block wall in the shade
of the tool house has sighted you, but you must
wait. The length of it, its girth, as if two school buses
were propped there, wheeless and untinted.
Just until the beast is helpless, until
the calf is lodged halfway
past the workmanlike gaping jaws,
the velvety brown calf legs
jutting crazily awry, and you think of the terrible
gullet in the beast’s cylinder interior. Yes,
you will shoot the anaconda
then. Your Wilser heart
will become tiny and beat inside the head
of your index finger poised just in front of the trigger.
You will shoot because opportunity is vagrant
and you still want work from the boss
who said “Kill,” and you, Wilser, desire
more than anything the most united of states,
not to die in the desert getting there,
in some packed rusted van, with only chewing gum
the contents of your stomach, but to get there
by the moxie afforded from your grandfather’s own
sun-encrusted hands, that dashes now your moist, paler palms.
Wilser Lopez, be not deterred. You are not yet
through with the landscaping business
and that United States of America is far less taxing
or so in stupor, you bow to its reverie.
Come Wilser, come reap of the scented states
so you can point out mistakes
as other people overlook them.

Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow is the author of poetry collections The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor (Salmon Poetry, 2012) and Horn Section All Day Every Day (Salmon Poetry, forthcoming 2018), as well as the chapbook Old School Superhero Loves a Good Wristwatch (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). Her poems have also been featured in numerous anthologies, including: The Plume Anthology of Poetry 5, Even the Daybreak: 35 Years of Salmon Poetry, and Drawn to Marvel: Poems From the Comic Books. Her poetry has appeared widely, including American Literary Review, American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Gulf Coast, the Los Angeles Review, Smartish Pace, and South Dakota Review.

Edlow has won the Red Hen Press Poetry Award, the Tusculum Review Poetry Prize, the Willow Review Prize for Poetry, and the Beullah Rose/Smartish Pace Poetry Prize. She earned an MA from the University of Illinois and a degree from the American Institute in Legal Studies. She was sole proprietor of a civil law legal business for over 20 years.

Edlow serves as a poetry instructor at Phoenix Center for the Arts, where she teaches poetry classes and workshops.