"The dead are patient among the trees," by Martha Silano

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The dead are patient among the trees,
— Brenda Hillman

listening to our complaints of chardonnay migraines,
M.S. tests, rare blood diseases, missing socks, the feline

sporting a cone to keep it from licking its sutured wound.
The dead forgive us as we forget to gorge on the delicacy

of daylight, hold our hands and listen even though we’re not
really tasting the creaminess of afternoon as we roll our eyes

at cashiers who gab with those not nearly as rushed, with time
to answer, when asked, what you feeding with that seed?

With whether or not the housecoat or hairdo works. The dead
look down as we dutifully rake the leaves away from stones

where they’ve never dwelled. The dead are doting in the spruce
as we curse the slippery sidewalks, the never-seen plow,

as we let slip the stems of tulips unfurling beneath the snow.


Martha Silano

Martha Silano is the author of five poetry books, including Gravity Assist, The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, and Reckless Lovely, all from Saturnalia Books. She co-authored, with Kelli Russell Agodon, The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice. Her poems have appeared in Paris Review, Poetry, New England Review, and American Poetry Review, among others. Martha teaches at Bellevue College, near her home in Seattle, WA.

Headshot: Langdon Cook

Photo Credit: Staff