Elisabeth Adwin Edwards


After the shots
we wander the aisles
waiting for the required

quarter-hour to pass
There are others
looking lost looking up

for signs
overwhelms us

How many
gradations of gray
eyeliner all

the shades
of a depression
the new foundations

labeled 24-Hour
I wonder am I enough
This face won’t last

a day Tomorrow
today will settle
into my fine lines

and deepen them
Feminine Care
doesn’t seem to

Trojans locked up
in glass cases
Diapers, Incontinence,

Paper Towels
Berber carpet color of dirt
all made to absorb

the full range
of human secretions
But the fluorescents

with their brutal honesty
want to know why
the woman with an armful

of NyQuil’s been weeping
They see the edges
of her ragged nails

A row of boxed dolls
in their plastic shells

are forced to stare
at a Kardashian
in Magazines Hell

is never being able
to close your eyes
At Pharmacy

a line forms
The woman in white
dispenses bottles

of need each
in its own skinny bag
warnings stapled to the front

A mother gives hers
to her small son to hold
He shakes it like a rattle

of divination
He dances while he shakes
I think he could heal

the sick this little
boy in his joy
You say Someone

could build a raft
from these pallets
of bottled water

if they drank the bottles first
Standing here in Beverages
contemplating the sea

makes me indescribably sad
The boy still shakes
I wish

the NyQuil woman sleep
I look at my cell
Fifteen minutes are up

We walk to the sliding
doors of the Entrance/

They part for us
as if in deference
I lower my head a little

in gratitude maybe
You take my hand
I know we love each other

more now




As my dying mother sleeps, I cut my nails so short I expose the red hyponychium underneath. The nerve endings pulse with tenderness. Everything I touch, I feel doubly. At home I masturbate using those shorn and throbbing fingertips, the ones on my left hand, because coming means I’m alive. I’m doing everything I can to stay in this body.

Winter Mourning


The foehn winds disorder me.
I drink too much wine,
cry without provocation.



The day my mother dies, I clean her room, then drive to the T.J. Maxx down the street. I smell all the discounted perfumes and bath gels, browse clothes I don’t buy; the act of stripping and trying them on in the cramped dressing room is enough, the fabrics rippling against my skin is enough. Today I read about shoes with feet still in them washing up on shores of the Salish Sea, learn that the tissues of ankles are the softest part of a body. How fragile the seams holding us together, how easily we come apart.

My Feet As Brooms


My daughter’s head unlooses
long threads of red. As I walk
hair spools around my toes.



Online, I discover two images of a crowned slug moth caterpillar. One, an unperturbed specimen, its “crown”, two horns. Ovular, neon-sex green, plumed. The other is unrecognizable: body burst with white cocoons of braconid wasps, flesh as nest and nourishment, paralyzed, but alive. I Google the wasp: ovipositor, needle of stealth, dangling from its abdomen. I was once entered by a man I didn’t fully feel until stunned, left less than I’d been. Now, years later, I look in the mirror, find my own mind turning on itself as a cell of self-doubt replicates: You will never desire, or be desired, in the old way—my softening thighs, my sex no longer deliquescing at the thought of hands—You will not, You will not, You will not… until my own reflection becomes intolerable.

I Have Ceased To Bleed


The Chinese Flame still fruits,
the mockingbirds still fledge,
the world still makes love.



In a book of photographs from 1974, there’s an image of a woman on a porch. The oaks and maples bare, her arms bare, her legs. Defiantly summer at the end of winter, she cools herself in shorts, a tank top; the racerback tank turned back-to-front, white breasts like fat bulbs fisting the air where blades of shoulder should be. Each erupted tit a part of her and its own entity. Nipples hard as buds; legs open, arm draped between them as if an extension of her sex; her chin, thrust forward toward the viewer.

Silence is Broken


The mated bulbuls arrive,
flashes of fire behind their eyes,
trilling me out of my torpor.


I would love to be an Apple hand, the parts model says in the interview. Can you imagine a gloved life, never really touching anything or anyone. Their whole commercial is hands! Apple hands. In my mind, one hundred arms and at the end of each, a palm offering fruit, for each fruit, a mouth opening, accepting greedily its gift. I’ll remember you best dispensing parts of yourself you would never get back. How hungry and touched the recipients were. Where are they now, now that with each passing day your body parts ways a little more with itself, with the world, and what is left? : trembling limbs, gaping mouth, resentments, thirst.

Elisabeth Adwin Edwards’s poems have appeared in The Tampa Review, Rust + Moth, Tinderbox, The American Journal of Poetry, South Florida Poetry Journal, and elsewhere; her prose has been published in havehashad, CutBank, On The Seawall, and other journals. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize. A native of Massachusetts, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and teen daughter in an apartment filled with books.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.