The Destroyer Blows Up At a Four Way Stop The Destroyer believes in anarchy but not from a driver waving others along, the rules of the road not some exercise in niceties. The Destroyer prays for laser beam eyes to obliterate the cars that don’t wait their turn, bumper to bumper with the lead car, flashing smiles that are tiny bones daring to be scattered. He punches his horn at each infraction, punctuating nearly every interaction with the screech of his soul, the agony of too many vying for a single path. The Destroyer can’t stand when pedestrians create another variable for the throngs who have no decency or desire to understand their place in a spinning universe. He spends a single day avoiding the intersections but discovers that he needs the anger to fuel his way through workdays and soccer dad errands. The Destroyer brakes and wonders what the roulette of the city means and why he cannot stand to see others, in turn, disappear before him.   The Destroyer Needs Help with Morale Bookkeeping The Destroyer realizes that math was never his strongest subject. The addition of family members sometimes feels like a subtraction of self. The Destroyer’s father comes from a long line of long lines. The desire to make his mark left a mark. The drill bored both ways until the holes refused to fill. The Destroyer learned every wrestling move from his sisters. The hair pulling. The protection of weak spots. The application of same. The Destroyer used to set himself on monsters to earn their special powers. Then noticed how others drank him in. The burgeoning badass now a target. The Destroyer tries to apply revenge upon the smoke. The fire of his mother fried through black lungs. The whiteness and blackness of plumes. The Destroyer is confused by pools in every form. The reflection of himself. The world. Himself in the world. The inability to count himself lucky. —

Martin Ott is the author of nine books of poetry and fiction, including “Underdays” (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015), Sandeen Prize Winner and Forward Indies Finalist. His newest book, “Fake News Poems” (BlazeVOX Books, 2019), takes the headline of a news story from each week as a jumping off point to explore political and personal turmoil in the first year of Trump’s presidency. His work has appeared in twenty anthologies and more than two hundred magazines, including Antioch Review, Epoch, Harvard Review, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, and Zyzzyva.

Artwork by: Louis  

two poems

by Martin Ott

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