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Triin Paja


Triin Paja

Otis Nebula started out as a writing prompt among a group of writers from the Intermountain West. In a traditional otis, twelve seed words produce twelve lines, each line incorporating one seed word. (Normally this takes the form of poetry, but it could also be prose.) The seed words are used in the order in which they are given, one seed word per line. The word may appear anywhere in the line but the form of the word cannot be altered. When the otis is complete, twelve new seed words are selected from the otis and given to the next participant, and so on.

The following “modified otises” were written by some of our current contributors and staff. In a modified otis, multiple writers work with the same twelve seed words. This time, they were: overgrown, mistake, palace, silence, disappearing, suitcase, ground, performance, iron, days, name, because

Iron Days
by Julie Turley

The kids were overgrown, not tall, just a lot. 

It was a mistake to let them in and they let us know it.

They had been traveling band style post-Jerry, post-Dead, and had never--wtf--heard of “Box of Rain,” “Brokedown Palace,” touch of motherfucking grey.

Silence when I asked where they got their ideas from, how they moved, why they showed up at my work.

Ice caps and history were disappearing, and my post-its, also a nail file.

I told them to leave this office, that there was much on the ground already to aid their survival.

The next day there was a performance of the combined choirs from the three local high schools.

They performed for our Iron Days.

This is how I want my days from here on until the end: calendared, expected.

Everyone here is on a last name basis.

Because anything else feels like too much.


For the Man Who Left His Sick Wife for a Younger Woman
by Dawn Corrigan

That overgrown knave

has repeated his mistake.

He left the palace and

the queen again. Her silence

as she watched him disappearing

with his empty prop suitcase

said more than the ground itself

which, rejecting the performance,

began to iron his footprints

out of existence. In days

we'll all forget his name.

I won't say it now, because.

in the canyon garden

by Marcia Arrieta


overgrown ideas like roses, lavender, salvia, larkspur manifest

while a mistake is buried deep within the earth absolved by sky

where the palace is an oak, many oaks connected

& silence beholds the truth


into an old suitcase.

the ground is always the ground solid across continents

& the performance never really mattered

although to iron is a lost art to be investigated & perfected

like the days that continue with clouds & wildflowers

searching for a name with meaning



by M.G. Martin

if you are lucky starlight becomes overgrown in the trunk of your human body.

there is a mistake in the air, whether you are or not.

either way you are a palace made of pyrite and feathers.

sleep is an attempt at silence: the language of the dead.

once born, you begin to practice the art of disappearing.

by the end you leave as a suitcase of memories

destined to fill the ground with the contents of yourself.

the greatest performance is that of the skin against the wind.

the ocean weighs more than iron, but not as much as regret.

you will travel so far from this place that days and nights will be replaced by vibration & time will break.

take the time to name each of your blood cells

because each of your veins will become tunnels of absence, eventually.