Martha Silano is the author of five volumes of poetry, including Gravity Assist, Reckless Lovely, and The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, all from Saturnalia Books. She is also co-author of The Daily Poet: Day-by-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice. Martha’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, and the Best American Poetry series, among others. Honors include North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Prize and the Cincinnati Review’s Robert and Adele Schiff Poetry Prize. She teaches at Bellevue College and Seattle’s Richard Hugo House.
Willing & Able
If, when the beverage cart careens into the cockpit door,
tray tables unhinging, seat cushions reminding themselves
how to float, as I stage my heroic lunge but cannot release,
don’t panic: a gentleman in 26D will slide his fingers beneath
the stubborn hatch, give it a quick tug, and we’ll file out
like we’re exiting a roller coaster—Power Keg, Jack Knife,
Fire in the Hole—a tad rattled, a smidgen disarrayed, ready
to wolf down what’s left of the chicken-teriyaki wraps.
Don’t worry: before the plunge, he and I will assess
the length of the leap, the depth of the lake,
the look of the limbs and lawns we’re crashing toward,
size up the leagues and lacerations. Checking our apps,
we’ll convert gallons to gravity, Fahrenheit to flattened,
miles to machinations. Yes, fellow passengers, we duly swear
to commandeer this door, willing and able to negotiate
any and all punctures, stowed explosives, each caustic
concoction shoved down any chap or chick’s lacy fuchsia thong.
Let every passenger—booted or belted, sweatered, blazered,
sari-swathed—slip through security loaded down with Deep
Damage Recovery Serum, trusty nail file, gun: we’ve got
your astonished sclera, your sublingual ducts, will escort you
down the safety slide; you will live to see your loved ones
molt and caper; you will have more years to cradle
ice cubes in your hands, demand your entrée be reheated,
spot eggshells in the batter, stare out of windows into the dark.