Month: December 2018

From Issue 20: There are Bellies in This World

Martin Ott
Who limbo with pool cues in nameless pubs,
who swing in time with jiggle and aplomb,
who sweat and stare with a single eye
and undulate on buffets and hotel beds.
There are bellies in this world who swallow
typing tests on a dare, who lie to mothers
they barely know, who master the art
of escaping the tuck and never seem
to outpace their luck. There are bellies
in this world voted class clown, filled
with knowledge but play the jester’s role,
who master the one thing we cannot live
without. There are bellies in this world
we do not know at all, who look perfect
but there is pain, who gurgle in the night
and dream of unending appetite. There are
bellies in this world we did not know were
out of time, who whisper wild and sundry
secrets, who remind us what we’ve swallowed
is not the same universe we keep inside.
Martin Ott has published eight books of poetry and fiction, most recently LESSONS IN CAMOUFLAGE, C&R Press, 2018. His first two poetry collections won the De Novo and Sandeen Prizes. His work has appeared in more than two hundred magazines and fifteen anthologies. 

From Issue 20: A Man Woke

Richard Weaver
to discover himself buried in a forest,
near a tree, not deep enough to never be found,
but within snout range of a truffle hunting pig.
How he came to be where he was,
trapped and in need of olfactory rescue
was never a part of the dream,
and is unimportant to this poem.
The facts are: a man died, or is dying,
has some level of consciousness,
enough to be aware of a tree, its species,
oak, one of several associated with the presence
and proliferation of truffles, and therefore
creates the possibility of a pig discovering him,
his body, alive or not, and uprooting him
in its belief that he, the man, is a giant truffle.
There’s no reason attached to his being
underground. No hint of politics. Or murder.
There’s a sense that the man is happy there
in a spare heaven, replicated many times over,
but with a likelihood, remote and unthreatening,
of a hoof-led snout parting the world below,
and the light above glowering as it darkens
the new life he has come to know as his.
Richard Weaver lives in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor where he volunteers with the Maryland Book Bank, and acts as the Archivist-at-large for a Jesuit college. He ‘s the author of The Stars Undone (Duende Press). Publications include conjunctions, Poetry, NAR, crazyhorse,  Pembroke, NER, Southern Quarterly, Adelaide, Barrow Street, Steel Toe, and elsewhere.