Table of Contents



Martha Silano



The great thing about being an artist is to be invisible
when you're needed, on your own private autobahn
when it's time to help with the where'd

my slippers go, with the talk about then, about them,
when asked to explain golden explosions,
the difference between symbols

and cymbals. Sybils and syllables. Signals and signors.
Sometimes it comes down to the chemicals
managing your chihuahua brain.

Turns out it's mostly chemicals, I mean, a kind of twirling
the heredity baton, adjusting the dial to genetics.
Raising the mind-body concept flag.

But to be an artist! Unveiling a sparkly scarf database,
or was it effervescent Jell-O? But the piece:
it had a sepulchral vibe, a bright red

bellissima, three conceptual garments. The artist asks:
is the realm of the symbolic watching?
Is there adequate disorder, and if not,

where'd it run off to? Wanting to shout Turn up the volume
on your parrot flowers,
so why not go ahead and do it:
transpose the everyday into an entryway, succumb

to your need for magenta polka-dots? It's not even the anymore
you worry about. It's the profound appearance of pinpricks
at dusk. The God that bathes you, smokes you, elses you.

Takes you into the feeling room, shuts the door. Unseveres you.
Solves the mother loss. Wakes you, makes of your woe
a wisteria. De-anchors the procedurals.

Says give the finger to mourning, but not the morning glory.
In the wooden filing cabinet of the mind
there's an atomic number

you wake to, but all the while your rational's offshore
like a blurry blue whale, an ostentatious yacht
sinking into the dusk.




You can send us earthquakes, but please make sure their energy
can't propagate, that their epicenters vibrate
only in the middle of a 500-square mile

sagebrush wasteland containing neither llamas nor lizards.
If you're going to bury us beneath billions of bivalves,
lighten up on the tornados. Cancer is completely

out of the question, and no fair adorning a newborn in a coat
of black hair, a menacing unibrow. Give us bedrock
like the vast mid-section of North America—

cold, crystalline, still. Include an instruction manual,
not simply for negotiating an angry bull moose,
but for dealing with a spreading Atlantic.

Please tell us we're your one and only, that fairer,
more Goldilocks planets don't exist; tell us
HD85512b has no atmosphere,

that Gliese 370 will never set below pinkish peaks like the ones
we're driving by—the Ruby Mountains. Even if
you're lying, please insist

there's only one sun, one habitable planet, one silver Subaru Outback
blackened by swarms of caddis flies as we speed toward
the Dillon, Montana Motel 6.




I bought shares in deer lilies, in Dave's Killer Sourdough Bread,
in towns named Evening Shade and Horseshoe Bend.          
In the trail to Happy Camp. The song I sing

is urgent like the Salmon River at flood stage, like a boot
that must keep hiking. There must be a rodent 
for the Van Gogh in all of us,

a rat not only for my tomcat Taco, but for anyone who needs
a little knapsack of natural. Someone said we were all
created to enter a chasm, to just once crawl into

a hole, fling open the storm cellar, let in the befallen.
Once we let them in, there's no room left
for signs that say Fuck Biden,

for Swastikas, though plenty of room for the graves
of the disillusioned. You were a mattress
with springs poking out, but now

you're a wakened prairie—wild bergamot, black-eyed Susan.
When you make a trade, nothing hurts except what happens
under the fluorescent lights of a Whole Foods

when you can't afford a bottle of olive oil, a $4.00 Honey Crisp.
When a star falls, does it really fall? It doesn't really fall.
A stranger picks it up and calls it a miracle,

calls it salt. Whenever I search, it's for the snow shovel of my childhood—
maybe it's still sitting there out by the driveway, waiting for me
to clear the sidewalk on 271 Grove.

When I spot Georgia O'Keefe hanging out with Claude Monet at the NYSE,     
drinking Malbec, not discussing GE but comparing brushes,
comparing skulls, I sell my shares in logic,

in the metaverse, in the world on the screen like a game of Monopoly,
including that gray clothes iron they retired in 2013. Oh and la,
a flightless bird gone extinct. Oh and la, the fig tree

in my neighbor's yard, its two fruitings. Oh, oh, and la,
a song about veins and arteries, which, as you know,
we all have.