Martha Silano

My Watch Face

is a scary clown, a raggedy red-haired dahlia.
It’s tell-all o’clock and I’m striking like a grief block,
a whine shield, tuning into a radio station that will teach me

not to scream. I’m thinking if I put on
this heron pin I’ll have rise vision, a reedy-rushy vibe,
mollusk-splitting hallucinations, though not the scary kind,

more like seeing my father on Lee Avenue,
raising a Rioja to his radiance, his rational minded
attempts. My tendency? To tend to my private Euphrates,

the eddied puddles of my double helix.
October’s a yellow-bellied cuckoo, opposite
of a heat-domed July. I like it this way, the drunken

orangey-browns, autumn in a high ball,
shiny crows on my neighbor’s black railing.
I don’t mind the loss of lemonade, so long as I’ll always

have the memory of poppies along a trail
to a French chateau. But enough already with deep-frying
terns and hawks. I haven’t put together the side-table that arrived

in 22 pieces, but I’ve nailed down tears,
nailed down a reason to keep asking, how could we
ever know what the first trillionth of a trillionth of a second was like?



And the road is like a cave with yellow walls

that are leaves, which I point out to my son,
how beautiful, how beautiful the fog, the fact
that my head isn’t pounding like it did all night,
like it has for years, like fertility made me sick,
like losing my fertility made me sick, like I thought
the end of releasing eggs would end my pain,
when instead I strain to delight in two kayakers
bobbing the whitecaps. If anyone from the American
Cancer Society asks you for a dime, I say to my son,
ask them why don’t they ask Tyson, why not
Proctor & Gamble, but really what I’m asking
is why do you have to grow up, why can’t you be
that blonde boy sprinkling sand into a kiddy pool
one small blue shovelful at a time, why do I keep
dreaming you’re a baby. And the road is a cave,
and we’re talking about how easy it is to get enough
protein—a couple cups of legumes and a PBJ,
sharing how I asked his sister, are you sure
you didn’t imagine a giant gray moth in the night
singing like a cicada? And the mustard leaves
are a tunnel down the boulevard by the water,
safe for kayakers and muskrats, a few small trout.



Martha Silano’s most recent collection is Gravity Assist (Saturnalia Books, 2019). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Cincinnati Review, Cimarron Review, Carolina Quarterly, Los Angeles Review, Copper Nickel, Image, Sixth Finch, and elsewhere. Martha teaches at Bellevue College and Hugo House in Seattle.