Martha Silano

It’s All Gravy


a gravy with little brown specks
a gravy from the juices in a pan

the pan you could have dumped in the sink
now a carnival of flavor waiting to be scraped

loosened with splashes of milk of water of wine
let it cook let it thicken let it be spooned or poured

over bird over bovine over swine
the gravy of the cosmos bubbling

beside the resting now lifted to the table
gravy like an ongoing conversation

Uncle Benny’s pork-pie hat
a child’s peculiar way of saying emergency

seamlessly      with sides of potato of carrot of corn
seamlessly      while each door handle sings its own song

while giant cicadas ricochet off cycads and jellyfish sting
a gravy like the ether they swore the planets swam through

luminiferous      millions of times less dense than air
ubiquitous         impossible to define a gravy like the God

Newton paid respect to when he argued
that to keep it all in balance to keep it from collapsing

to keep all the stars and planets from colliding
sometimes He had to intervene

a benevolent meddling like the hand
that stirs and stirs as the liquid steams

obvious and simple      everything and nothing
my gravy your gravy our gravy      the cosmological constant’s

glutinous gravy      an iridescent and variably pulsing gravy
the gravy of implosion      a dying-that-births-duodenoms gravy

gravy of doulas of dictionaries and of gold
the hand stirs      the liquid steams

and we heap the groaning platter with glistening
the celestial chef looking on as we lift our plates

lick them like a cat come back from a heavenly spin
because there is oxygen in our blood

because there is calcium in our bones
because all of us were cooked

in the gleaming Viking range
of the stars


“It’s All Gravy” is reprinted from The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception (Saturnalia Books, 2011).



Martha Silano is the author of What the Truth Tastes Like (Nightshade Press), Blue Positive (Steel Toe Books), and The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, chosen by Campbell McGrath as the winner of the 2010 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in North American Review, Paris Review, Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry 2009, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere. Martha has received fellowships and grants from The University of Arizona Poetry Center, Seattle Arts Commission, Washington State 4Culture, and Washington State Artist’s Trust. She teaches at Bellevue College, near her home in Seattle, WA.


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