Scott Silsbe

Singing in the Shower

Sometimes I recognize that you will forget me,
that we will forget all of this, and that all of this
will forget us, that we ever inhabited this space.

But these days, I find that when I’m not thinking
about the present or the past, I’m often thinking,
“Don’t think that—just please don’t think that.”

I slice open my middle finger while chopping up
vegetables for dinner. Maybe it was an accident.
Maybe I wanted some outward display of what’s
inside me. Maybe it’s a little “fuck you” to myself.

It just feels like I’ve been so damn malleable lately.

I call up my mother to let her know I’m not “dead
on the side of the road,” as she seems to like to say.
She tries to comfort me by saying she thinks we’ve
avoided something worse, something like a civil war.
She means well, but it’s not much of a comfort to me.

But I think about D.H. Lawrence, how he said that we
have “to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”
I put on John Coltrane records until I’ve run through
all my John Coltrane records, then start back at the top.
And that seems to do some damage. It seems to tame
the beast a little. I think I’m good to step outside and
confront the world. I’m getting ready and I’m singing.


Waiting in Line at the Post Office

I know that
there are fates
worse than this
but right now,
at this moment,
I can’t name them.

I have this thought
and then I realize
what an asshole
I must be to have
this kind of thought.

There are terrible
things happening
to many people
all across this
planet right at
this very moment.

There are awful
things that people
are doing to each
other. So many
awful things,
in fact, that
at times I’m
to call myself
a human being,
to lump myself
in with others.

But there are
also good things
people are doing
for each other
and I try to focus
on that, try to
concentrate on
the positive,
so I don’t fall
down deep
into a well
of despair
or become
one of those
people who
are always so
cynical and
sinister, so
negative that
it becomes
their main
attribute or
their main

But still, I try
to keep in mind
the awful things,
keep them not
too far away,
so as not to be
too delusional.
This world,
in my opinion,
already has
plenty of that.


Scott Silsbe was born in Detroit and grew up down the river from there. He now lives in Pittsburgh. His poems have appeared in numerous periodicals and have been collected in the three books: Unattended Fire (2012), The River Underneath the City (2013), and Muskrat Friday Dinner (2017).  He is also an assistant editor at Low Ghost Press.