SHAMAN GETS FACELIFT AFTER A DREAM
An Amazon Shaman of the Camaiura tribe
dreamed he needed a new face, so he asked
the famous plastic surgeon to stretch
his cheeks like the head of drum and slice
away the lumps of fat under his eyes,
a black puddle that trapped his magic inside.
The Shaman prayed to fill the limp sack
in his dreams with scalpel and anesthesia,
the way a tree trunk is felled with axe blades,
then the bottoms of tribesmen floating to shore.
A half-million Amazonians have followed him
in plastic surgery, their shaman unrecognizable
since he saved the famous ecologist poisoned
by a tree frog. He made the long trip to Brasilia
in a canoe with no oars and watched the cleavage
and shiny faces on the streets like a deep lagoon.
We have planted much of ourselves in the ground
before the time comes to decide: burial or ash?
There is still magic trapped in the roots of trees,
and river pods beneath the ancient banks, where
young boys dive down into the dark waters
with knives and a hunger they cannot explain.
A Russian linguist and military interrogator during the Cold War, MARTIN OTT currently works as a writer and editor in Los Angeles. He has published stories in over a dozen magazines and has optioned three screenplays. His poetry appears in over 50 magazines and anthologies, including The Greensboro Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Hotel Amerika, New Letters, Nimrod, Poetry East, Seattle Review, Third Coast, and Xconnect. He has been a finalist for the Bluestem Poetry Award, the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry and the Carnegie Mellon University Press (Open Reading). His poem “India Ivy” was nominated by Mudfish for a 2006 Pushcart Prize and his chapbook “Misery Loves” was published on Red Dancefloor Press.