By Martha Silano
By the roots of my hair some god got hold of me
By the roots of my hair, by the reinforced elastic
of my floral Bravado bra, by the fraying strands
of my blue-checked briefs, some god’s gotten hold of me,
some god’s squeezed hard the spit-up rag of my soul, rung me
like the little girl who rang our doorbell on Halloween, took
our M&Ms is your baby okay? Why did they take him away?
Some god’s got me thinking my milk’s poison, unfit
for a hungry child, some god’s got me pacing,
set me flying like the black felt bats dangling
in the hall, some god so that now I can’t trust my best friend’s
healing hands, the Phad Thai she’s spooning beside the rice (ditto
to the meds the doctors say will help me sleep) Poison poison!
as if the god who’s got hold of me doesn’t want me
well, doesn’t want my rapid-fire brain to slow,
wants this ride for as long as it lasts, wants to take it
to its over-Niagara-in-a-barrel end, which is where
this god is taking me, one rung at a time, one ambulance,
one EMT strapping me in, throwing me off this earth,
cuz I’ve not only killed my son but a heap of others too.
Some god’s got me by my shiny golden locks, by my milk-
leaking breasts, got me in this hospital, wisps like white scarves
circling my head, wisps the voices of men back to bed you whore!
Some god till I’m believing I’ve been shot, guts dribbling out,
till I’m sure I’ve ridden all over town in a spaceship, sure
I’m dead, a ghost, a smoldering corpse, though not before I’m holding up
a shaking wall, urging the others to help me (a plane about to land
on our heads), though soon enough thrown down by two night nurses,
strapped to a bed, though for weeks the flowers my in-laws sent
charred at the tips (having been to hell and back), clang of pots,
hissing shower, the two blue pills my roommate left in the sink,
all signals of doom, though some god got hold of me,
shook and shook me long and hard, she also brought me back.
Martha Silano is the author of four books of poetry, including Blue Positive (Steel Toe Books 2006), The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, winner of the 2010 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize, and Reckless Lovely (Saturnalia Books 2014); in 2015, Two Sylvias Press re-released What the Truth Tastes Like, a much-expanded version of her award-winning first collection. She also co-edited, with Kelli Russell Agodon, The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice (Two Sylvias Press 2013). Martha’s poems have appeared widely, in such places as Paris Review, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review Online, New Ohio Review, Crazyhorse, Copper Nickel, and North American Review, where she received the 2014 James Hearst Poetry Prize, as well as in many anthologies, including American Poetry: The Next Generation and The Best American Poetry 2009. Martha has received writing fellowships from the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, the University of Arizona Poetry Center, and she was the 2004 Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident. She’s also received funding from Artsmith, Washington 4Culture and Washington State Artist Trust. Martha edits Crab Creek Review, curates Beacon Bards, a monthly poetry reading series in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle, and teaches at Bellevue College. “Harborview” first published in Blue Positive, Steel Toe Books, 2006.