Audio: Read by the author.
we really do mean it, a friend announcing, at the end
of a long phone call, in which she shares her love
of The Red Shoes and Moulin Rouge,
“I love you,”
how good that feels when you wake in the middle of the night,
the worth of that unexpected gesture like a lover
who cleans out the dishwasher filter without
being asked. It’s the taste of that first sip
of coffee, rich and strong, the Mr. Coffee cup warmer
on your desk. It’s having the right pen; it’s a full
water bottle, a piece of orange-cranberry bread,
warm and moist, crunchy with walnuts.
We also love the big things, like Fatu and Najin, the last
two white rhinos, a mother and her daughter.
You can watch them on YouTube,
snorfling in the Kenyan dust,
the calming hum of insects all around them, which is more
of the little things, because mostly it’s those, the insects
outweighing our human bulk seventeen times,
bush crickets and pill bugs, bot flies
and army ants that, when the time comes,
will make quick work of our little
and big bodies, our veined
and ventricled hearts.
Martha Silano’s most recent book is Gravity Assist (Saturnalia). She teaches at Bellevue College and Seattle’s Hugo House.