Back to Issue Sixteen.




Man, we’ll never know what’s real. It’s just gonna be
a head banger’s ball until the end of eternity
– Guy in sweatpants, MUFON meeting, Portland, Oregon

Like a Pyrex pan soaring across my grandmother’s kitchen,
making a bee-line for the steaming galumpkis. Like the dainty

saucer beneath my Aunt Joe’s favorite Royal Albert teacup,
the fine bone China I was cautioned not to touch: these and others

on the loose with nine sound-barrier-breaking croissants
arranged in a geese’s V. Blade thin, blindingly glowing.

They saw it from the capsule, thought it might be the final stage
of a Saturn V, but when they radioed Houston, learned

it was 6,000 nautical miles away, and anyways their conundrum
shaped like a dumbbell. Or was it a dome, burst of light and whoosh,

more like daylight but red lightplanets with Christmas lights on,
over California, over Russia, over San Juan. Large-eyed and molten,

as in this is not a prank phone call! I got three of ‘em: yellow, green,
and blue, a shiny horizontal silver dollar but we couldn’t, you know,

blurt it out. Skipping over water, and they decide what’s real, so recant
or cover up, call it a weather balloon, strike from the record the words

I saw it, call it Project Grudge, don a thought-screen helmet (only two failures
since 1958
). Transparent, acrid insectoid clinging to his trousers. Or was it

belladonna? Departing spaceship, or Citroen on the M8 motorway?
We have a red-eyed sperm critter; we are being escorted, dragged

to the ground. Like the lid on the pot of my grandmother kielbasa.
The never-to-be known, whirring and secret. All of it sizzling, crackling.






The domestic is … the stuff about cooking dinner, how you go about your day. And I guess the extreme of it is—I can’t even think of who the perpetrator is, but—the poems about the backyard.
– Matthew Rohrer

In which the moles are taking over.
Also, some kind of crookneck blighter,

critter that squishes the buds, liquidizing
like a spider does to an ant; and the Brussels,

poor Brussels, though an admirable mauve,
though prolific in the production of leaves,

I do not think they will yield. How ‘bout them
aphids, this garden their butter, lamb chop, 1⁄4 cow.

Bleak parsley, keeling kale. And did I mention
moles? Twelve years of this tufting, this nighttime

carousing like a pack of Tonka-truck-loving toddlers.
Meanwhile, the lawnmower insists I am beautiful,

wear my cojones well, but is really a dirty, noisy liar
spitting sticks of untruths. A no-good, gas-guzzling hussy

with his orange cord like a neon noose; he, missing
the tighter spots, the cat’s ear by the fence, is the lowest,

lower than a rodent with a penchant for lawns,
though I am the stupid one because Task Force

comes with a warning, DANGER on its black lapel.
The yard a weed yard, but I will make Nebraskas

of the hills, and I will Safer Soap, peace out
with the grubs, the lace they make of the basil.

Martha Silano’s books include The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, winner of the 2010 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize, and Reckless Lovely (Saturnalia Books, 2014). She also co-edited, with Kelli Russell Agodon, The Daily Poet: Day-By- Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Blackbird, Beloit Poetry Journal, AGNI, New Ohio Review, and Orion, among others. She edits Crab Creek Review and teaches at Bellevue College. Martha lives in Seattle, WA, where she star gazes, runs, birdwatches, and rarely turns down cheesecake.

< Previous (Catherine Pierce)

Next (Anders Carlson-Wee) >