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Saturday, January 26, 2013


by Martin Ott

Dog causes uproar after being mistaken for a lion because his owner cut his 'mane' to look like the local college mascot. --Mail Online, January 9, 2013

Perhaps the doors to the fitness center
should not have been left ajar to let
in air, and the dog’s owner should have
better tied the rhinestone leash to a lamp
pole. The tan mane was freakishly puffy,
and reminiscent of a nascent lion king,
and it was difficult to make out details
in the chaos of leg warmers and shrieks.
They’d been frightened by endless tales
of rampaging death, and the instructor
put the class in a closet, hero that he was,
assured no feline possessed opposable
thumbs to work the knob. They did
not fret about the oxygen running out
or the receptionist getting maimed,
resisting impulses, sharing bareness,
lit by smart phones, bodies pressed,
an excited beast chasing a giant ball
over matts made on distant shores.

A former U.S. Army interrogator, Martin Ott currently lives in Los Angeles and still finds himself asking a lot of questions. His poetry and fiction have appeared in more than 100 publications, including Harvard Review, New Letters, Prairie Schooner and Zyzzyva. His book of poetry Captive won the 2011 De Novo Prize. He is also co-author of Poets’ Guide to America (Brooklyn Arts Press). Ott’s blog about writing has drawn thousands of visitors from more than 75 countries.