it was like the time my mother convinced me
everything looks better from upside-down.
She was lying with her back on the floor,

legs draped over a faded-orange couch.
No, seriously—try this! Was she right?
Was our pear tree resistant to fireblight

& late spring frost for a reason? HonestIy,
I settled down beside her, slung my legs
upon the ugliest piece of furniture in the Tri-state.

And you know what? She was right. Right
like a metal gate, its cold lock, can be right,
the way in a dream you can paint as well as Degas.

All those crooked pictures in our living room
suddenly made sense, especially the two bald girls
I think my mother chose because they reminded her

of me and my sister, but in the Victorian Era.
It was like the time I read the first three words
of Pablo Neruda’s “To Sadness”: Sadness,

I need your black wing. My God, who on this side
of the Tapan Zee Bridge writes like that.
Who says things like I need the sapphire to be

extinguished? More than pressing my palms
into my eyeballs, massaging my earlobes,
it awakened my parasympathetic nervous system.

All good, all good, as they say, samey-same:
me-n-me-mum; her in what my father referred to
as Vicky’s Spider Suit (a polyester housedress),

me in loose boxers reminiscing about dessert pears,
waking hours before dawn, chuckling to myself
as I descend from a loft bed, take my place

on the floor, where I stare up at mysterious lichens,
unquestioning salal, at the giant ferns pointing
at me like limp, exasperated swords.

Martha Silano is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Gravity Assist (Saturnalia Books, 2019). Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Martha teaches at Bellevue College. Her website is marthasilano.net.

Appears In

Issue 19

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