The dead do not have their eyes
on the living. They remember glass
doors blocking their rise and borders
beneath beds and silkworms for hands.
The gravel diaries are passed stone
to bone, organs groaning into the past.
The dying do not divide their limbs
for the dead. No abyss or submarines,
no buttons pushed or soldiers clipped.
zippers for flesh, bitters straight up,
no communion for the conscripted,
the horizon an amputated kite string.
The living do not display callouses
for the dying. Catastrophe is not physical
the way a man forgets to crave ovens,
sour in heat and disdainful of lovers.
What do you wear for your embalming?
The box feels absolutely nothing inside.
The dead and the dying and the living
stop lying to the anonymous blossoms,
make amends to Orion, string olives
into rosaries and fling rice into eyes,
flee wings and mysteries, the vying
and the denying…oh so trying.
A former U.S Army interrogator, Martin Ott lives in Los Angles, where he writes, often about his misunderstood city. He is the author of 4 books of poetry: Underdays, Notre Dame University Press (2015), Captive, C&R Press, and Poets’ Guide to America and Yankee Broadcast Network (2014), co-authored with John F. Buckley, Brooklyn Arts Press. In 2013, he published The Interrogator’s Notebook, Story Merchant Books. He blogs at writeliving.wordpress.com