Martin Ott
The Language of Horns

After work, I troll the freeway in my dusty
Dodge Rambler making up stories to the chorus
of engines and horns. I decipher strings

of seven on license plates and weave
through traffic to match fantasy to face.
H2OLWYR becomes a kind-hearted merman

defending tuna, sperm whales and trees
ground into paper towels to clean the black
cough from the Exxon Valdez. HOMEIMP is

a sprightly woman of one-hundred-and-seven
who saves endangered species of piñatas
during Thanksgiving and Cinco de Mayo.

PICNICK is a bodybuilder who gulps his own
dead skin in a protein shake. I wind my fears
along expressways and on-ramps, searching

for the sun through a purplish haze. I never
get my news from the radio and translate
God from the language of horns. And I believe

in the journey, the thrum of tires spinning slow.
When a procession of headlights trumpets
nightfall across the divide, I search for truth

in embers: a tail light’s silent warning, flickering
rear-view eyes, and a combination of letters
that will teach me all I need to know

about the art of telling, the dyslexia
of anger and love, the muse of freeway
static and the wisdom we find in going far.