Martha Silano

Regrets Only, Please

I like to travel, might even call myself an extrovert, don't mind
striped socks or a bulbous nose, so why didn't I apply

to Clown College? I should've listened more
to that wise old owl who, the more he listens,

the less he talks, the less he talks the more he hears,
should've engaged more often, and with more vigor,

my bundas, which are the core muscles, the ones
holding it all together; occasionally, to show how much

I love him, should've asked for The Tail of the Ostrich,
however tough on the spine and neck. I didn't pay attention

to my mother, or more so, my grandmother, especially
when she spoke of General Cigar-the exact number,

on a given day, she'd rolled. When she died
& I looked up at the first sunset since August 27, 1912,

without her on this earth, I kept getting distracted
by the loudspeaker, announcements for a flight

to Kalispell. I should've learned from my father
what makes a polymer twist. From my sister the art

of rewiring a lamp, something, however small,
about trowels. From my brothers how to carry a tune

while sober. I should've been one of those people
who assembles rockets, maneuvers with ease

the tightest cave, unravels DNA. When I saw,
the week e. coli poisoned all that hamburger,

a Jack-in-the-Box sign announcing Hiring
for Graveyard,
where was my camera? I always stop

at wayside chapels, but never get out of my car.  And O
those nimbly swinging gorillas, the outrageous clatter of toucans . . .

Martha Silano is the author of What the Truth Tastes Like (Nightshade, 1999). Her work has appeared widely, in such places as The Paris Review, Green Mountains Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and on Poetry Daily. She lives in Seattle, where she teaches English at Edmonds Community College.