The 2River View 22.2 (Winter 2018)

Martin Ott

For Every Nail in the Bomb There Was an Act of Kindness

For every song rising above the gathered crowd
there was an edict of night.
For every house missing a door
there was a stranger who held the villains at bay.
For every banned book hidden from the rabble
there was a pyre extinguished by voices.           
For every drone zipping toward its foe
there was a message left for a loved one.
For every outburst of anger billowing to rend
there was a congregation holding on.

Pesky Woodpecker Breaks Car Mirrors in Georgia Neighborhood

We suspected this attack was premeditated, the advanced
scout of a bird revolution making sure that we could not
track the billowing clouds hiding the feathery apocalypse.
It turns out that the crime was not so easy to pigeonhole.
The bird mental health system had been failing for years,
with early release for woodpeckers who jabbed mailboxes
and baseball bats. The tiny holes puncturing the night sky
were due to the same bird, a messenger of angels signaling
rapture in Morse code and the devil captured in glass shards.
The outbreak would not end until we decided upon a motive
that would explain our inability to phase our lovemaking
to the crackle of glass. We would not catch this troublemaker
in refracted light or in the margins of our children’s books.
We shake with the wind and misjudge the shelter of trees.

Martin Ott is the author of seven books of poetry and fiction, including Underdays (University of Notre Dame Press) and Spectrum (C&R Press). His recent work has appeared The North American Review and Prairie Schooner. website

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