California is Sinking by Martin Ott


It was water draining, earthquakes kissing in the shade of the moon winking in tune with the marionettes of Godzilla tap dancing for dinner. It was the office pool being rigged before the steering column in the ribs, the storage shed turned into a homeless brig, the matador’s cape or baby’s bib hung in the closet or on a billboard begging for consideration, the fib that became the real story rehashed until time lost its will. It was the small screen sucking us in, the vodka gimlet transformed into gin, the famed taco truck up in smoke that we followed for years, the treasure in limbo just beyond the beyond, the yolk discarded in the heart-smart omelet. It was the drone sent out for cigarettes by the director lost in the desert. It was the lost scene in Steinbeck’s last work. It was the invisible collapse of the land’s face, stretched taut like an actor turned professional patient. It was the hidden reservoir beneath the migrants streaming into the void. It was the crash that no one heard and the warnings we pretended to ignore.





Martin Ott is the author of six books of poetry and fiction, including the poetry book Underdays, Sandeen Prize Winner, University of Notre Dame Press and the short story collection Interrogations, Fomite Press. More at



Photo Credits:
Damian Gadal via / CC BY
** RCB ** via / CC BY