SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

When wispy clouds drift through sparsely wooded mountains

When the contours of mountains resemble coliseums.

Cathedrality of mountains.

Relief of roadlessness.

That there are lakes impossible to reach by car.

That from this window just behind the wing, 20F,

there are no signs of life.

Once I packed a bag with cheddar goldfish.

Once my son threw up before we even boarded the plane.

Cracks and fissures, cuneiform of rock. Backbones and capillaries,

the snaking green edged with bluffs (long-ago ocean?).

He will turn eighteen next week.

Brain-like contourscerebral cortex or cerebellum?

Contours thin like the veins of leaves, fronds of a sword fern, feet of a coot.

Time passed like a silent rail in the reeds.

The folds very Egyptian, mummies reposed in their tombs.

Like an alligator’s enormous tail, though lacking snout and teeth.

Once I sang La crocodile il est malade, il est malade a Singapour.

All those years, I thought I was singing sangue a peu—a little blood.

Clouds less cumulus, more cumulonimbus.

Towns scattered with houses like paint chips.

From the ground he would wave to the passengers in the sky: Bye-bye, babies!

Claw-like hills, afghan of cloud not like fresh snow but snow a few days old,

the occasional indentation where a foot or tire met asphalt.

The crocodile is sick. A little mercy, a little blood.

Between fluffy swirls, black holes.

When the binky and the sippy cup.

When the diaper bag and the teething ring.

Cottoned from above

like first tracks on Lynx Pass,

a pristine path through aspen, lodgepole, spruce.


Martha Silano is the author of five poetry books, including Gravity Assist (forthcoming 2019), 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.

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