The Chamber of Silence,

where quiet does not calm but claims,
a sound-absorbing shell forbidding

the comfort of even a doctor’s footsteps
on a shiny linoleum floor. Lighting altered

to lose all sense of time, silence deeper
than any in the Arctic, the Urals.

Cosmonauts, bereft of their Pushkin,
their Ukrainian folksongs, stifling

the urge to cry out, sound of nothing
like icy waves giving way to flames.

Lack of chirping cricket, scurrying mouse,
lonesome wail of a factory whistle, gurgling

and splashing of a rising Volga River.
Siberian silence—two inseparable sisters

announcing they’re no longer speaking.
Echo-less room where books, palette,

paintbrush, pencil and paper are forbidden.
It might be a day, days, a week or more

(they never say). Minute by minute,
1-2-3, eyes on me, silence morphing

to a deafening let me out! Every ounce
of will to keep one’s mind: Poyekahli!

(“Off we go!”), to rise in a trembling rocket,
gaze on a glittering sickle, one’s home an orb.

To, awestruck, orbit, become a cloud
of racing fire, then roll three times

through waving wheat, land face first
in a field never smelling so sweet.

Martha Silano has authored four books of poetry, including The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, winner of the 2010 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize, and Reckless Lovely (Saturnalia Books 2014). She also co-edited, with Kelli Russell Agodon, The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice (Two Sylvias Press 2013). In 2015, Two Sylvias Press will release a second edition of her award-winning first book, What the Truth Tastes Like. Her work has appeared widely, including in Paris Review, Poetry, American Poetry Review, and North American Review, where she received the 2014 James Hearst Poetry Prize, as well as in many anthologies, including American Poetry: The Next Generation and The Best American Poetry 2009. Martha edits Crab Creek Review and teaches at Bellevue College.