You can't trust

Martha Silano

a hammer to hold onto its handle,

a Phillips head to cozy up

to its tool box. You won’t see

the Merlin swoop past the dumpster

and into your yard, but in the middle

of your first down dog, the mystery

of the avian world is revealed

in a pile of exploded gray feathers.

You can’t trust the butcher

to give you the best cut of pork;

this is because pork shoulder

is a metaphor for life.

The husband kept saying

a cabin in the woods,

not a second home; a place

for year-round pickling

and canning, while the wife

dipped her pretzel in the mustard

like the electric yellow skyline

she loves. Not only can’t

you trust your husband not to

lie, you can’t trust the filtered water

is filtered, that the dormant volcano

is dormant. I asked for another beer.

By the time it arrived I was heading

into the screwdriver night.


Martha Silano is the author of four books of poetry, including Reckless Lovely, The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception (winner of the 2010 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize), and Blue Positive. She is co-editor, with Kelli Russell Agodon, of The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for your Writing Practice. Saturnalia Books will release Gravity Assist, her fifth poetry collection, in early 2019. Martha’s work has appeared in Poetry, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, and New England Review, among others. The recipient of Yaddo’s 2017 Martha Walsh Pulver residency, she teaches at Bellevue College.