Gratitude List on an August Evening

by Martha Silano


Sometimes a feather jumps around on the patio carpet
like some sort of nudibranch sent down
to amuse me, and I’m grateful.
Add to the list

that tomorrow will be cloudy, twenty degrees cooler,
that someone invented wine,
that the earthquake/
tsunami thing

hasn’t happened yet, the guaranteed repeat of a random day
in 900 AD, when the fault a quarter mile from where
I’m sitting rose twenty feet, the reason
so much of Seattle is hilly

or sunken, why so much fill dirt covers estuarine mud.
Add that my daughter’s terrible news is a sap stain
on her shorts, that the sulfur cosmos
I left out in the heatwave

isn’t dead. Add dark chocolate, ice cubes, watermelon, the rainforest exhibit
at our local zoo, so humid that when you exit you realize
it’s nowhere near as hot as Brazil.
Add a marine breeze,

squeals of kids as the sky goes orangey pink. The good fortune
of a dead-end street, neighbors who never blast ACDC
but bring us figs. The active volcano, fifty miles
from our porch, blanketed with snow.


Martha Silano is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Gravity Assist (Saturnalia Books, 2019). Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Martha teaches at Bellevue College. Her website is and she can be found on Twitter and Instagram @marthasilano.

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