Martin Ott


On my morning commute, hillside erosion is festooned by a fence girdle above the freeway. Gravity in all of its meanings is something we try to keep within. The space between atoms stretches across the borders, stopping armies and hungry cattle, the valence of earth a mystery long before we sparked into being. Continental plates pass each other in the slow lane. Friction meets the fiction of control, like my first marriage still dropping stones in a time-released avalanche. Retaining walls hold the hill above the parking garage and I dream of suiting up in armor. At work, the security screens keep passersby from understanding how data migrates like a flock to a point that is always in the distance. I stress eat and refuse to move up in pant sizes, my belt holding the universe together, even at lunch, even when my hand trembles from too many hours bathed in this insistent light. The atmosphere is invisible but it holds us in place. My eyes water at odd moments, when my spreadsheet is a ploughed battlefield, when tremors cause us to dive into a nest of computer wires, when my love for you is something I bolt to my chest as I try very hard not to stay under the desk.