they said. Focus like a plank of wood stays focused
on the plank it rubs against, the nails,
on the warping as they age. Stay

creative. Like others, create. Flourish like a leaf leafing,
like a Kentucky spring, like the network in a stem.
Let your brain be French or Guyanese, create

un-dreading routines. In place of late trains, place mountains
and Ferris wheels in your dreams. Motivational quotes,
like Look as carefully at yourself

as you do the sun. Cultivate the unexpected like cultivating
plums. Become the uncommon prune of the ages.
Find a new word for walls. Focus

on Planck’s constant, on the quark known as charm.
Try having your best lifetime, though a Guinness
is fine, a cocktail with a hibiscus base.

Be the antidote and the anecdote. Force books and windfall apples
onto your besties, six-foot clams and fossils of camels from here
to Spokane. Reverse adversity while confronting arthritis

of the mind. Enough is not always enough. Call it
an independence growing less ominous
across the Midwest, something akin

to the Saint Louis Arch. Especially in the morning,
listen to pigeons and scientists. Endurance
is within your gasp. Outside Austin,

pop your lines, make them go feather, un-rust.
Let your noggin weirden: it helps. Each of us,
like an apron or an albatross,

has a back and front. X out judgment. Your theater
is a doorway: improve on what can be improved,
on a little strategic wandering

beyond the recipe. Limit the part of you that doesn’t want
to be a child. Unrigid your flagpole. Sharp can be bad
but also works, the zeitgeist in your kombucha.

Mine non-operatic projects. Be the movie that ends
with a bright black beetle. Don’t let social media
tailor your musings, though let it if it will.

Except when you’re not, be a language economist. Let passion
be your business, 9 to 9. Your reward? Handstands,
an open-ended stylus, singing by the pound.





Martha Silano has authored six poetry collections, including This One We Call Ours, winner of the 2023 Blue Lynx Poetry Prize (Lynx House Press, 2024), as well as Gravity Assist, Reckless Lovely, and The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, all from Saturnalia Books. She is a co-author of The Daily Poet: Day-by-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice (Two Sylvias Press, 2013). Martha’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Paris Review, and American Poetry Review, and in many anthologies, including the Best American Poetry series. Awards include North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Prize and The Cincinnati Review’s Robert and Adele Schiff Poetry Prize.