by Martha Silano
but the flags were stiffly blowing, but the grass wasn’t dead.
I couldn’t find inspiration in an ARCO/AM-PM sign, in the cashier’s
sharing she starts work at five am. Listening to Cannon Ball Blues
in Battleground, Washington, trying to imagine three back-to-back
nine-hour shifts in a convenience store off Interstate 5, who and what
walks through those automatic doors, what’s desired, what won’t ever
be fulfilled despite beef jerky and salted peanuts, corn nuts and Fritos.
Inspired, somewhat, by the crows flapping off to their evening roosts,
one with a crooked wing, a black angel tagging along,
which is sometimes who watches over you as you cross
the Columbia River into Oregon, not a gourmet meal
but a mediocre burger at Denny’s, a plate of soggy fries,
not one-hundredth as bright as the sun just now
above a cluster of menacing clouds as we pass
the sign for Hooters. Uninspired amid leafing-out maples,
conifers that might be yellow cedars, though who can tell,
who’s really watching out for any of us, I ask
the ivy hugging the walls, the scotch broom and vetch.
Martha Silano is the author of five books of poetry, including Gravity Assist, Reckless Lovely, and The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, all from Saturnalia Books. She is also co-author, with Kelli Russell Agodon, of The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for your Writing Practice. Martha’s poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, and Paris Review, among others. Honors include the James Hearst Poetry Prize, the Robert and Adele Schiff Poetry Prize, and Yaddo’s Martha Walsh Pulver residency. She teaches at Bellevue College, near her home in Seattle, WA. Her website is available at www.marthasilano.net