Carla Schwartz 




In the dream
I don’t quite remember,
a man, uneducated,
or uncultured,
or both, 
he was some kind of thug,
or taxi driver
who met me once or twice —
like the elevator operator
I met in Cuba,
the one who used Chinese condoms
that only half-fit,
as if to signify that Chinese equipment
is on the small side,
or maybe these are the only ones
the Chinese government was willing to donate to Cubans
because they cost less,
more bang for the buck —
fell for me, I am not sure how,
as I doubt I said much of anything in this dream,
but the man, in his thugness
was a perfect gentleman —
a walk along the river
and ambling drive in his cab
and somehow, that’s just the way dreams work,
I knew he was poised to propose marriage,
so I fell into that state of confusion,
that inability to act,
to own up to my feelings
and counter the flattery,
but when he sent a woman to see me,
presumably a marriage broker
who would gently convey the man’s intention,
My honey pie,
my true love appeared,
and I told him I loved him
in front of the woman,
and held his hand in mine
like we were glued together,
so that when the man drove up in his cab,
or walked up to us with his thug buddies and balloons —
far more romantic than the elevator operator with his emails —
my lover and I kissed and kissed
until even an uncultured criminal
would understand
love cannot be invented
or dreamt up
or bought.


First published by Poetry Quarterly, 2016




My Father’s Hiking Boots


On Saturdays, my father wakes to the old G.E. alarm
that buzzes him from the open-jawed stupor he prefers,
and bends around to push himself up from bed.

Now, his cranky knees slow him,
so he wakes earlier to turn on the radio,
swirls rinse between his cheeks,

throws a couple of sweet potatoes in the nuker,
to pack for  lunch, fills a water bottle, fills a bowl with cereal,
fills his time until he’s ready for the crapper.

He picks up his boots, the current ones, at the door —
not the several pairs of never worn, next-in-lines,
brands he trusts — Vasque, Keene, Teva,

bought on sale over the years, waiting patiently in his closet.

How many of these pairs will remain unused when he’s gone?

He grabs his keys and poles
and clicks the garage door open through the window.
Soon, he’ll blame the stones he trips on.

First appeared in Wayne Literary Review, 2017





Carla Schwartz’s poems have appeared in Aurorean, Fulcrum, Bluefifth, Common Ground, Cactus Heart, Mom Egg, Switched-on Gutenberg, Naugatuck River, & Solstice. Buy Her book, Mother, One More Thing on Her 2nd book of poetry, Intimacy with the Wind, is forthcoming from Finishing Line. Her CB99videos youtube channel has 1,000,000+ views. Learn more at, or