Edwin Wilson Rivera


A grim mechanical, savage against sable dusk,

patched and gritty clothing like tin gone to rust—;

eyes half-shut in the sucking cyanic dust.

A hash of flies whirl above the red and milling

crust, sun-blaze an angry sacrament; crumbles

of flung dirt leap from mounds, then gust.

(Adios caimito y ceiba, adios zapote, adios, adios—

in this deserted fastness, only clay and dun.)

He leans on the helve of his hacking tool;

his toothless pequeñita strikes a shovel into the dirt.

He locates a hand, a torso, a loamy foot—

then tosses the parts like meat to burn.

This campesino who seeds the earth with flesh

has guised himself as a reverend of death.

Murder has become machine, banal:

La Familia Michoacana is in his town.

He swipes his brow with a ragged cloth,

hacks into the bitten dust.

He widens this berth for his beloved’s corpse.


edwin wilson rivera was born and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey. A former member of the United Steelworker’s Union, he’d held a variety of jobs, from working the production line in a mayonnaise factory to laboring as a dockman for an oil company. His work has been published in The Global City Review, Monkeybicycle, Pank, Folly, The White Whale Review and Acentos Review, among others.  He resides in New York City, where he is pursuing an MFA in fiction at the New School. In July 2011, he was a recipient of the Norman Mailer Fiction Fellowship.

dance of the Wooden Skull