Surpassing danger

Martha Silano

has always been impossible,

the body a spruce-root basket,

a twined bag woven from husks,

though hard for me to say, this I,

this sugar cube of silence, motionless

plinth rising just east of where it gets

ugly. Don’t know it, can’t know the yellow

and black police tape surrounding

the Quik-Mart, traffic nuisance on my way

to visit a friend in Renton, danger I drive by,

don’t live by, tap my break at the four-way,

sail by Rainier Beach High, Henderson

and Cloverdale, streets equaling stay away,

not my music, not my winter lion. Surpassing

anything has almost always been a lie,

though the catch is the almost, keeps

ice crystals from forming on a life.

When the storm drains drain in reverse,

seawater gushing into the streets,

when a red moon tide is not what’s

causing the seepage from underground,

when five-star service, when having it all

cannot contain the inundation, when water

creeps up driveways, under security gates,

floods Lexus SUVs and Mercedes,

100s of millions will know surpassing danger

is like surpassing one’s impossibles,

one’s moon-jelly self. Whose dead

will float by like the bodies loosened

by Hurricane Agnes in the wake

of the Susquehanna? Not my people

or their epic poems, not my thesis

on the history of the bird, not a one

of my besties, my darlings. Not my beloved.


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