A Poem By Martha Silano

Tributary

Either everything’s a valley, a jelly donut
dimpled down the middle, or else everything’s

a collision of plates, crustal thickening on its way
toward muscled mountains. Either everything’s way,

way, beyond mid-gallop or a rundown shack haystack-
still, a dog-patch immobilizing glory, gumption, get up

and go. Either everything’s a sandy path leading
to a dune-saving fence or nothing’s guarded, out of reach.

Which is worse: too many walls or not enough,
the laciness of shams or an endless hallway of bare

jalousies, dead fly lounging on each lone pane?
Everything’s a spider, filling up on gnats, building/

breaking its web; that is, unless nothing’s a spider,
including the spider whose web is a map. Either

everything is happening or it’s quieter than a feeder
bereft of its pecking/twirling flicker. Either everyone

is needing something, a jump or a stroke, or else
it’s a mojito in the lotus position, cancer punching

its melanomic clock. Neuron for neuron, fly brains
outclass the ones loaded down with game change,

watershed moment, tipping point. Also, haven’t yet
figured out how to navigate by the stars.



Martha Silano is the author of four books of poetry: What the Truth Tastes Like (Nightshade Press, 1999), Blue Positive (Steel Toe Books, 2006), The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception (Saturnalia Books, 2011) and Reckless Lovely (Saturnalia Books, 2014).

You will find more poems here. You may contact the editor at poems@theawl.com.