Gains & Losses
The Table of Losses

Both Hands, Both Feet, Both Eyes,
a Life: for these I'd receive the Principal Sum,
though there'd be limitations, forms
to fill out. If it wasn't ptomaines,
bacterial infection, a self-inflicted wound
or a war (declared or not),
I'd be referred to the Table of Benefits,
Class III, Page 2. $20,000.00
isn't much, certainly not
for the tears (if eyes
were not among the members
lost), barely enough to cover
your bones. Already I've dug a hole and begun
to fill it--shared couchette on the train
to Rome (asked sposato? we beamed
like newlyweds), hike to Yokum Ridge
(when the trail gave way
to ice and rock, you climbed,
I watched). I'm in Bishop's boat--
the one with all the rainbows--
fireweed, skyrocket, paintbrush.
Red shorts. Blue bandana. Perfect arc
of your back.

Copyright 2009,  Martha Silano

Martha Silano's books are Blue Positive (2006) and What the Truth Tastes Like (1999). Her work has also appeared or is forthcoming in 32poems, AGNI, Crab Orchard Review, Paris Review, and The Best American Poetry 2009.  Martha teaches at Bellevue College, near her home in Seattle, WA.  "Table of Losses" was previously published in The Florida Review and What the Truth Tastes Like.

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