Carla Schwartz

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Artwork by Gene McCormick


In the dream, you wanted to search online —
that is, use OK Cupid,, and the like,
not to meet a new mate,
but rather, to collaborate.

My throat tightens. My face yellows.

I wonder if a computer would match us up now
if I submit my own profile.
What would I say about myself —

When dancing, knows how to refrain from taking the lead,
but dances to her own beat?

Would we surely match,
if, like in a Voodoo prayer,
I include a photo of you,
along with mine?

Instead, on one of those not-looking-to-date sites,
I create a you profile.
compose a lament,
and find someone,
a beautiful woman with a high voice,
like mine, to sing along with it.
I sing your part as a bass.
I play it for you — we sound beautiful together.
Yes, you say, this is what I want.

Your Table Saw

The first thing I notice is the blade
protruding like a shark fin
but with teeth and no tongue.
My father had a table saw too.

Seeing yours reminds me
of my father’s sharp tongue,
which, when I was young, cut like a saw
through the air with each of my missteps —

like when I didn’t add the garlic
to the meat sauce that first time,
and didn’t simmer the sauce
with a low enough flame. 

Once, when I was a teen,
he grabbed my wrists
and blocked my way
with his force.

My father discouraged me
from studying mathematics
after college, told me
I wasn’t smart enough.

Now, at 91, too tired to shout,
my father sits to go upstairs —
he switches on the motor and rides
his stair lift up and down.

You wheel your table saw outside,
measure and cut the boards,
then biscuit and glue them,
to build me some cubbies.


Filmmaker and photographer Carla Schwartz’s poems have been widely published and anthologized, including in The Practicing Poet (Diane Lockward, Ed),  and in her second collection, Intimacy with the Wind, (Finishing Line, 2017). Her CB99videos youtube channel has 2,000,000+ views. Learn more at,, or find her on YouTube, Twitter, or Instagram @cb99videos.