never alone never together never the French Riviera always Menlo Park Mall never the
right skirt jeans blouse the right amount of rips the right rip size never the right way
to ask for the driest wine never together never alone never your ear always your guitar
your song never your pundit your pride never your misered time your tongue never ever
not correcting always towering never the right to be towered always and never together
always the swiping of the card the sponge the heel the crumbs for the rat who snuck
through a door the come on the covers the crack in the foyer always the needing the need
the null the fed needing feeding the SUV idling on the corner that woman who chewed
you out never are they right never are you right always we don’t you said you were you
said never always together now they’re divorced now they’re of course divorced now
there’s a warrant a war now the swimming pool’s teeming with algae and frogs now all
the money meant for college is scum on a pond now the never is always now the always
is over all over and gone.
Lately My Gratitude’s
out of bounds like the soccer ball the blue team kicked into suspecting arms.
Not quite drifting off, more like a shit-storm of sex acts, the shenanigans of giants
live-streaming through my cranium’s Prime, a podcast of characters I don’t recall
serving me ice cream, roping a tree to the top of my car. What I’m saying is my transition
from awake to not is when the pilot says bumpy air, pings the seatbelt sign. My battery
doesn’t cycle quietly. I’m tired but my mind’s busy tracking down the bearded lady and
the frog man. This is when I start what must be praying, litany of what and who, which is
everything from fingerless gloves to the gal on 50th and Genesee who hems my jeans. I
give thanks to buckwheat tea and in-home heating. Also, to the smell of my daughter’s
part when I kiss it goodnight, like an animal fresh out of hibernation. By the time my
Greyhound Bus kicks into snore I’m thanking the stillness, that our bed’s not shaking,
that the missile imploded on its launch pad, that the war between fake and real went
Armistice. Insaning off to sleep like making sense of the Book of Revelations, battle
between the beasts of the earth and sea versus biting into the flesh of a Tennessee
Walker. My brother says it boils down to the Anti-Christ, prophesized temple in the
Fertile Crescent. Lake of fiery brimstone, my cranium’s spewing neuron volcanoes of
appreciation. Hi-jinx like what goes on in a waste treatment plant, never sure what will
surface—false teeth, a shuttlecock, a set of keys, a basin of serpents, of which I thank each one.
Martha Silano’s books include Reckless Lovely, What the Truth Tastes Like, and, with Kelli Russell Agodon, The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice. Her poems have appeared in Paris Review, Poetry, New England Review, and elsewhere. She teaches at Bellevue College.