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Author: Martin Ott
Location: Los Angeles, CA

A former Russian linguist and interrogator during the Cold War, Martin Ott currently works as a writer and editor in Los Angeles. He has optioned several screenplays and has had more than a dozen stories published in literary magazines. His poetry has been published in over fifty magazines and anthologies, including The Anthology of Monterey Bay Poets, Cimarron Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Hotel Amerika, New Letters, Poetry East, Tampa Review, Third Coast and Xconnect. His chapbook, Misery Loves, was published on Red Dancefloor Press.



Gulf

An ocean separates us from grief,
an unnamed sea that trickles out
eyelets, a vast world undiscovered.

We all make up this invisible body,
our blood welled in ancestral fury,
descendants from the same Africa,

survivors of ice, fang and claw.
The weight and desire of land
traps these sacred waters in stone

fists, funneling a narrow path.
The people on the other shore
fling arrows, not seeing the point.

The old and new, savage and sublime,
holy and heathen are flip sides
of the same coin with one edge

in the dirt pressed on by the strongest
boot. Whether we stare at night-
black caverns or earthly skies

opening, there is a long meeting
in the depths, woman and man
joined, a cave with no nation

but comfort and desire. Animal
skins surround us, past dangers
wrapping the future with fluff.

The falling lights of battle
illuminate this single source,
human blood, a pool that reflects

us all, brother, twin, enemy.
The gap to them is unbearable.
We just need to reach deep.



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