Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

April 24, 2016 Edlow Cynthia Schwartzberg



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 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.