“I Thought” from PRISONER COWBOY by Edward Manzi

Prisoner Cowboy by Edward Manzi

CW Books, 2023, 88 pp.

I thought there were answers, but all the children in the neighborhood are running around with saltshakers, shaking salt slowly on every slug they can find, lighting birthday candles in the sludge that remains, making an afternoon of it, then going home for milk and cookies and watching cartoons. I believed in bananas. When I got out of work a giant pizza was on my car, covering my windshield, covering my roof and the glass of the hatchback. I had to eat it; I had no choice. I shot a deer point blank with a shotgun, felt bad, stuffed the wound with flowers and never looked back; escape, escape, escape from the school and its termites that have crawled into the students’ noses, into their brains, and out through their toes. I subscribed to the notion; a red bicycle frozen upright on the iced over lake used as a hockey goal, marked up black and dented from slap shots, rusted chain off sprocket and kinked, adorned with icicles, catching the orange light of dusk. Sometimes, during a warm October day field mice crawl into half full wine bottles, get too drunk, die and are discovered a year later by a couple picking apples.


Edward Manzi lives in Tahoe City, California. His poems have been published in DecomP, Cosmonaut Avenue, Bodega, Hobart, and a number of other publications. He holds an MFA from The University of New Hampshire. His debut full-length poetry collection, Prisoner Cowboy, is available from CW Books.

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