Emily Vizzo

Seen under the microscope, Stegomyia is a creature of striking beauty
– David McCullough


It’s good to have an echo. All the workers get moving,
swiftly full. Restorative, like ordinary music.

The result is terror. Wired flowers, because small
changes are beautiful. Instead of happiness,

sewing machines. The gods were there.
Like spoons come unstuck.

Sometimes you have to spell it out.
Twilights. Daughters dividing like neat

braids, laid in pigeon-gray stone & small
headed moss. Burning lamps within

wrestling bowls. Notable too is the hugeness
of hands. It’s true that evolution wants

men to be tall. Broken pots turning
inward. Facts done skillfully & cleanly.

Single garments. Work is not that horror
or terror. How else would I be alive?

Haunted wigs. Cups of silk.
None of these are named or numbered.


On the playground, the school CEO
points out places to run

should a gunman find recess.
Depending on the situation, the children

should be told to lie down flat or run zigzag
across the asphalt.

If a gunman enters the classroom,
she says, depending on the situation:

Try to grab the gun. This reminds me
of wilderness advice.

A wolf does not protest movement
from the thing it holds.

The mouth of a wolf hosts.
Love wide. Blood storm.

If you see a bear, play dead. If you see a bear,
make your body big & scream.

Play dead. Fight back.
If attacked by a shark, poke its noble eye.

If attacked by a shark, hang on
tight to your blood.

Like you, a shark has one job. When you
think about it, the bleeding is your fault.


Julia Roberts has breakfast
at Main Street Restaurant & Steakhouse.

She’s Erin Brockovich & they’re
filming in my hometown, rundown

neighborhoods chosen for their
dry lawns, ratty palm trees.

I can see the restaurant
from my parent’s bedroom.

Roberts will score an Academy Award
& in this scene the waitress

is the real Erin Brockovich.
But all I can see is the house

my father built hovering
behind her staged face.

We press pause again & again,
There it is! There’s our house!

Nobody asks permission. It’s assumed
we’ll be flattered, and stupidly we are.


Emily Vizzo is a writer, editor and educator whose work has appeared in FIELD, Blackbird, jubilat, North American Review, The Los Angeles Times, Next American City, and other publications. She previously covered Congress for the Scripps Howard News Service in Washington, D.C., and has written extensively on topics including the San Diego biotech industry, corporate social justice, surf, the arts, education, business, and health. Emily served as Assistant Managing Editor with Drunken Boat journal, and volunteered with VIDA, Writers Resist Los Angeles, Poetry International, and Hunger Mountain. Her essay, “A Personal History of Dirt,” was honored as a notable essay in Best American Essays 2013, and she was selected for inclusion within Best New Poets 2015. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net in 2015 and 2016, and, with the poet Curtis Bauer, she has published translations from Spanish appearing with From the Fishouse.