Blue Positive

Martha Silano

To begin I need to tell you about Phoenix, who’s telling me he’s so hungry
he could eat twenty sumo wrestlers, diapers and all. I need to tell you
about these puke-yellow walls, about Ms. Potthoff, how she shines

in this cluttered, chalk-choked room like the Iowa sun in July, cares for these kids
like they care about their class pet Lizzy, a spotted gecko; I need you to see
Christabel’s two-inch navy-blue fingernails, who wrote for even your father

was once a stranger; also smiling Myra, who tells us Celtic music’s
like holding a cat, like taking her first bath, like her brother
and sister being born. I need to take off

this scratchy sweater, put on my old gray sweatshirt, fraying at the seams,
the zipper about to go. I need to tell you about the white boot
that used to be my sister’s, then mine, then my little brother’s

as he hopped home, one foot bare, one still-warm boot stuck
in the neighbor’s drifting snow. Arnold says
it’s like the colors of a Mexican sky,

a tarpon’s glistening fin, while Jamar, Jamar says we should all have, like the dog
whose owner always gives him the last piece of poppy-seed cake,
a quiet place to lie down. Listening,

I hear the waves off the coast of St. Ives, where gannets, common as pasties, stretched
every inch of their seventy-two-inch spans. Listening, I need to take you
to the Seep Lakes late, very late on the night of the Leonids,

my son with a cold, so in all the photos, where my best friend Lisa Sylvester
said an angel had shushed me, had shushed us all, that glistening,
which is why I must tell you of Dr. Lydia Adler’s

gloved and sterile hands, how I slid out blue, but blue positive; my mother’s blood
the rain; if we could see it but we can’t, the sky, Ayla says, isn’t crying;
the sky never cries. Our burdens are small,

or just the right size. I wore a red and black corduroy jumper, in a lavender dress,
sipped wine—a little of hers, a little of theirs, like those seeping lakes,
seeping into mine.


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