Two Poems by Jo Angela Edwins

 July 4, 2022
The homemade sign draped from the railing
of the interstate overpass
had twisted over itself in the wind.
I could see the word “no,” the word “body,”
and so many dark lines between
that were the building blocks of letters.
Letter is a word in this language
that can mean a symbol of a sound
or a message sent to someone you can’t see.
In a matter of seconds I drove beneath
this message that no one could read,
this banner of words that made no clear sound.
Still, someone spent the time to speak
before the wind stole the sound of a voice.
Someone bought the canvas and the rope and the paint.
Nothing in this maddening life is free.

“The Girls He Had Been Involved With”
                 —a quote from an interview included in a program entitled The Butcher 
                     Baker: Mind of a Monster about an Alaskan serial killer 

How a retired cop on a true crime show
described the women murdered
by a serial killer who made pastries by day
and killed dancers and runaways at night.
He murdered at least seventeen women
and came close to killing others.
This poem isn’t very poetic, and no one should care.
Just remember that the killers live in a world
that reminds them in one way or another each day
that women are girls, that girls are expendable,
that raping us and slitting our throats
is no more and no less than “being involved” with us.
So we carry our keys like a weapon.
So we keep our lights burning all night.

Jo Angela Edwins has published poems in various venues, including recently in Bracken, Inscape, and Mom Egg Review. Her chapbook Play was published in 2016. She lives in Florence, SC, where she serves as poet laureate of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina and teaches at Francis Marion University.

Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review’s chapbook prize is named in her honor.

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