Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow – Robust

P Cynthia Edlow LE P&W Vol 2 2019

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Poems by Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

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. She has new poems in Plume Poetry 7 Anthology, Hotel Amerika, Plume (online), and forthcoming in Gargoyle.

Robust Room


The brighter the flamingo the healthier
the bird. The merrier, more affluent. All that
beta-carotene feeding on unlucky shrimp
frosts their feathers a rich pink.


This is why Ovid wrote that mythological
story about gods who
came in the form of beggars.


All this long period, you know a man
from the sound of his voice
unless he is talking with
his mouth.
You make out some problems,
but the price could be paid
for the problems you could see.


The multitude has distributed attention.
The fair exchange concept
will barely sink in for them.
Even on the most precious sunny
day, conceptually or materially,
there is no fair there. It’s
all gas.


Lately, researchers have rooted out, deep
under the Saharan desert, preserved in rocks,
bacteria fossils that six hundred and fifty billion years ago,
soaked up sunlight, ate some magic
chlorophyll, and turned the oceans nothing
close to blue. Older than algae,
older than anybody. The first, hardly-there, living
organisms, painted Earth’s earliest color
electrifyingly pink.
So that’s nice.

Up, There

There is a common rumor musicians
who cannot read
music know when it is genuine
because they are listening.
A horse-drawn coach loaded
with shortcomings
thunders to mind’s precipice. Stuffed
down among abraded heels and other riffraff
in the blemished, inherited chest,
divergent plots lust to pick
the latch, yeah, in their due.

Tune your ear to
that feverish chatter of jubilation.

When starlings whoosh out
from the dense dark green
weeping fig, an urgent
breaking-through clot, and
willy-nilly radiate, up,
up, there, and points
north, that is them broadcasting
circumstances you haven’t
yet an inkling. Now is the time for the thumb.
Hell, outwit.

© Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow