Martin Ott, Diplomacy

The president asked the dictator
to be his wingman on the Ark,

the last of their race in a floating
fortress buoyed by melted icecaps.

The women were reluctant to bed
older gentlemen, and various forms

of diplomacy were brought to bear,
beginning with stolen identities:

naval aviators good with a stick,
an assertion impossible to disprove

beneath smoking skies. They were
assigned as janitors, used to clogs

and crap, survivors of the death
threats after the terrible accident,

a fortune paid for the skin grafts
that reformed all by their ears.

The screams they remembered,
but yearned for insistent breath

on their necks and the moans
that swore they were iron rulers

of surrounding hills and valleys,
the only land moving beneath

them to be drilled in the mist
of the morning at world’s end.